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Improved diagnosis of spinal cord disorders with contact heat evoked potentials


Ulrich, Anett; Haefeli, Jenny; Blum, Julia; Min, Kan; Curt, Armin (2013). Improved diagnosis of spinal cord disorders with contact heat evoked potentials. Neurology, 80(15):1393-1399.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the sensitivity of contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs) compared with dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials (dSSEPs) and clinical sensory testing in myelopathic spinal cord disorders (SCDs). METHODS: In a prospective cohort study, light-touch (LT) and pinprick (PP) testing was complemented by dermatomal CHEPs and dSSEPs in patients with a confirmed SCD as defined by MRI. Patients with different etiologies (i.e., traumatic and nontraumatic) and varying degrees of spinal cord damage (i.e., completeness) were included. SCD was distinguished into 3 categories according to MRI pattern and neurologic examination: a) complete, b) incomplete-diffuse, and c) central or anterior cord damage. RESULTS: Seventy-five patients were included (complete n = 7, incomplete-diffuse n = 33, central/anterior n = 35). In total, 319 dermatomes were tested with combined CHEPs and dSSEPs. CHEPs, dSSEPs, and clinical sensory testing were comparably sensitive to detect the myelopathy in complete (CHEPs 100%, dSSEPs 91%, PP and LT 82%) and incomplete-diffuse (CHEPs 92%, dSSEPs and PP 86%, LT 81%, p > 0.05 for all comparisons) cord damage. In central/anterior cord damage, CHEPs showed a significantly higher sensitivity than dSSEPs (89% compared with 24%, p < 0.001) and clinical sensory testing (PP 62%, LT 57%, p < 0.05). A subclinical sensory impairment was detected more frequently by CHEPs than dSSEPs (60% compared with 29%, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of spinothalamic pathways with CHEPs is reliable and revealed the highest sensitivity in all SCDs. Specifically in incomplete lesions that spare dorsal pathways, CHEPs are sensitive to complement the clinical diagnosis.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the sensitivity of contact heat evoked potentials (CHEPs) compared with dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials (dSSEPs) and clinical sensory testing in myelopathic spinal cord disorders (SCDs). METHODS: In a prospective cohort study, light-touch (LT) and pinprick (PP) testing was complemented by dermatomal CHEPs and dSSEPs in patients with a confirmed SCD as defined by MRI. Patients with different etiologies (i.e., traumatic and nontraumatic) and varying degrees of spinal cord damage (i.e., completeness) were included. SCD was distinguished into 3 categories according to MRI pattern and neurologic examination: a) complete, b) incomplete-diffuse, and c) central or anterior cord damage. RESULTS: Seventy-five patients were included (complete n = 7, incomplete-diffuse n = 33, central/anterior n = 35). In total, 319 dermatomes were tested with combined CHEPs and dSSEPs. CHEPs, dSSEPs, and clinical sensory testing were comparably sensitive to detect the myelopathy in complete (CHEPs 100%, dSSEPs 91%, PP and LT 82%) and incomplete-diffuse (CHEPs 92%, dSSEPs and PP 86%, LT 81%, p > 0.05 for all comparisons) cord damage. In central/anterior cord damage, CHEPs showed a significantly higher sensitivity than dSSEPs (89% compared with 24%, p < 0.001) and clinical sensory testing (PP 62%, LT 57%, p < 0.05). A subclinical sensory impairment was detected more frequently by CHEPs than dSSEPs (60% compared with 29%, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of spinothalamic pathways with CHEPs is reliable and revealed the highest sensitivity in all SCDs. Specifically in incomplete lesions that spare dorsal pathways, CHEPs are sensitive to complement the clinical diagnosis.

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10 citations in Web of Science®
8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:13 March 2013
Deposited On:20 Jun 2013 11:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:49
Publisher:Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
ISSN:0028-3878
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828c2ed1
PubMed ID:23486867

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