Multimodality evoked potential testing in acute mild closed head injury
Multimodality evoked potential (MEP) testing, including brainstem auditory, visual, and somatosensory evoked potentials, have been reported to be useful in predicting outcome in severe closed head injury. Brainstem auditory evoked potentials have been demonstrated to be abnormal in 10% to 40% of acute mild head injury. A prospective study of 18 patients with mild closed head injury was undertaken to determine the usefulness of MEP screening within two weeks of the acute event. Long latency event-related potentials (P300s), in response to auditory stimuli with an oddball paradigm, were included in the screening. The subjects had several symptoms consistent with the postconcussive syndrome at the time of the evoked potential testing. Only one patient had an abnormal evoked potential response (greater than three standard deviations from the mean) from all the testing done. The standard methods of MEP testing were insensitive to quantifying the possible physiologic changes that are associated with memory deficits, lethargy, and emotional irritability after mild closed head injury.
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