Does wave V of BAEP pertain to the prognosis of coma? Neurophysiol Clin 31: 406-411

Author(s): Balogh A, Wedekind C, Klug N


Objectives:The significance of brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) wave VI for the outcome of comatose patients was assessed and compared to the prognostic impact of median nerve evoked somatosensory potential (MSEP) recording.

Patients and methods:One hundred sixteen patients in a comatose state due to traumatic brain injury (n = 57) and to intracerebral hemorrhage or tumours (n = 59) were investigated prospectively. Outcome was assessed 3 months after the onset of coma using Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS). Standard BAEP and MSEP recordings were obtained within 24 h after coma onset. The frequency of findings was correlated with outcome by means of non-parametric statistical analysis. Additionally, 27 healthy volunteers were studied to confirm the constant presence of wave VI in normal BAEP.

Results:In healthy controls, wave VI was present in 53/54 ears stimulated. Outcome correlation analysis revealed a significantly (p < 0.01) higher frequency of abnormal wave VI in patients with unfavourable outcome (GOS 1-3) irrespective of the underlying pathology. Similarly, abnormal MSEP findings were significantly more frequent in this outcome group. Diagnostic sensitivity for an unfavourable outcome was low for both parameters, whereas specificity and positive predictive value of abnormal wave VI as well as of abnormal MSEP were equally high.

Conclusion:Abnormal BAEP wave VI bears prognostic information in comatose patients.

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