Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Somatosensory evoked potentials to median nerve stimulation in meningomyelocele

Nishimura T, Mori K. Somatosensory evoked potentials to median nerve stimulation in meningomyelocele: what is occurring in the hindbrain and its connections during growth? Childs Nervous System. 1996 Jan;12(1):13-26. Review.

Twenty patients with meningomyelocele (MMC) and shunted hydrocephalus, ranging in age from 3 to 23 years old, underwent serial recording of short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) to median nerve stimulation, on the basis of which to assess the evolution of dysfunction in the brainstem and its connections (cervical spinal cord, cervical nerve roots, lower cranial nerves). Eighteen patients had Chiari type II malformations, none of which was symptomatic. In all 20 patients, serial SEP recordings were obtained repeatedly after periods ranging from 2 to 7 years. The results were as follows: (1) the ratio of EP-N13 interpeak latencies (IPLs) to body height (BH) tended to lengthen gradually after starting in the normal range with growth. (2) In contrast, the ratio N13-N20 IPLs/BH decreased continuously to the normal range with growth, after initial prolongation. These findings and our earlier studies of brainstem auditory evoked potentials suggest that compression and traction result in strangulation of the cervical spinal cord and kinked medulla as well as stretching of the cervical nerve roots and lower cranial nerves. However, primary intrinsic functional disorders of the brainstem appeared to improve gradually during growth. The natural history of Chiari type II malformations involves these opposing dynamic phenomena in the hindbrain and its connections.

PMID: 8869170

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