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The Single Word Auditory Comprehension (SWAC) test: A simple method to identify receptive language areas with electrical stimulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gonzalo Alarcón, Marie Bird Pedersen, Noelia Juárez-Torrejón, David Martín-López, Ismail Ughratdar, Richard P. Selway, Antonio Valentín

Original languageEnglish
JournalEpilepsy & Behavior
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Accepted/In press17 Oct 2018
E-pub ahead of print13 Nov 2018

King's Authors


Objectives Resective surgery for medically refractory epilepsy in proximity to speech receptive areas requires balancing adequate resection of the epileptogenic zone for optimal seizure control with preservation of function. We develop a simple test (Single Word Auditory Comprehension or SWAC) to localize speech receptive areas by evaluating patients' ability to comprehend a single word. Methods Patients were studied during presurgical or intraoperative assessment for epilepsy with intracranial electrodes. They were asked to listen to a common word (target word) and to describe what it meant without saying the target word. Electrical stimulation (trains of biphasic 2-ms pulses, 50 Hz for 3 s) was delivered while the patient listened to the target word, not while the patient explained the meaning of the word. In six patients, SWAC test was carried out during extraoperative chronic recordings, and in one patient in the operating theater under local anesthesia. Results Among the 7 patients where the test identified deficits, 6 underwent resection (4 temporal, 1 supramarginal, and 1 occipital). Two patients showed temporary minor speech deficits after resection. No patient showed permanent speech deficits after resection. Conclusion/significance The SWAC test is reliable, simple and fast to implement, and suitable for intraoperating mapping. It could be used as a simple initial test to identify receptive language areas where more complex additional tests can be performed.

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