During surgical clipping of intracranial aneurysms, reduction in SEP amplitude is thought to indicate cortical ischemia and subsequent neurological deficits. Since the sensitivity of SEP is questioned, we investigated SEP with respect to post-operative ischemia.
In 36 patients with 51 intracranial aneurysms, clinical evaluation and diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) was performed before and within 24h after surgery. During surgery, time of temporary occlusion was recorded. MRI images were reviewed for signs of ischemia.
For 43 clip applications (84%), we observed neither pathologic SEP events nor ischemia in MRI. In two cases where reduction lasted >10 min after clip release, SEP events correlated with ischemia in the MRI. Only one of the ischemic patients was symptomatic and developed a transient hemiparesis.
While pathologic SEP events correlated with visible ischemia in MRI only in two cases with late SEP recovery, ischemia in MRI may have been transient or may not have reached detection threshold in the other cases, in agreement with the absence of permanent neurological deficits.
In complex aneurysm cases, where prolonged temporary occlusion is expected, SEP should be used to detect ischemia at a reversible stage to improve the safety of aneurysm clipping.
Copyright © 2011 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.