Prognostic use of somatosensory evoked potentials in acute consciousness impairment

M.C. Cloostermans, Michel J.A.M. van Putten, Janneke Horn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Predicting the fate of ICU patients who are in coma is extremely challenging. In this context, somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) can assist the multimodal neurological evaluation. In this chapter, we discuss the principles, applications and limitations of the SSEP in the ICU, with a focus on prognostication in comatose patients. Registration of the SSEP is a very reliable and reproducible method, if performed and interpreted correctly. During recordings, great care should be taken in improving the signal-to-noise ratio: if the noise level is too high, the peripheral responses are abnormal, or the response is not reproducible in a second set of stimuli; in these cases, interpretation of the SSEP cannot be done reliably. A bilaterally absent cortical response is a reliable predictor for poor neurological outcome in patients with a postanoxic coma, but not in patients with traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical Neurophysiology in Disorders of Consciousness
Subtitle of host publicationBrain Function Monitoring in the ICU and Beyond
EditorsAndrea O. Rossetti, Steven Laureys
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783709116340
ISBN (Print)9783709116333
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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