Predictive value of neurological examination for early cortical responses to somatosensory evoked potentials in patients with postanoxic coma

A. Bouwes, J.M. Binnekade, B.W. Verbaan, E.G.J. Zandbergen, J.H.T.M. Koelman, H.C. Weinstein, A. Hijdra, J. van Horn

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Abstract

Bilateral absence of cortical N20 responses of median nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) predicts poor neurological outcome in postanoxic coma after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Although SEP is easy to perform and available in most hospitals, it is worthwhile to know how neurological signs are associated with SEP results. The aim of this study was to investigate whether specific clinical neurological signs are associated with either an absent or a present median nerve SEP in patients after CPR. Data from the previously published multicenter prospective cohort study PROPAC (prognosis in postanoxic coma, 2000-2003) were used. Neurological examination, consisting of Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) and brain stem reflexes, and SEP were performed 24, 48, and 72 h after CPR. Positive predictive values for predicting absent and present SEP, as well as diagnostic accuracy were calculated. Data of 407 patients were included. Of the 781 SEPs performed, N20 s were present in 401, bilaterally absent in 299, and 81 SEPs were technically undeterminable. The highest positive predictive values (0.63-0.91) for an absent SEP were found for absent pupillary light responses. The highest positive predictive values (0.71-0.83) for a present SEP were found for motor scores of withdrawal to painful stimuli or better. Multivariate analyses showed a fair diagnostic accuracy (0.78) for neurological examination in predicting an absent or present SEP at 48 or 72 h after CPR. This study shows that neurological examination cannot reliably predict absent or present cortical N20 responses in median nerve SEPs in patients after CPR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-541
JournalJournal of neurology
Volume259
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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