Auditory evoked potentials and vestibular evoked myogenic potentials in evaluation of brainstem lesions in multiple sclerosis

Anita Ivanković, Vesna Nesek Mađarić, Katarina Starčević, Magdalena Krbot Skorić, Tereza Gabelić, Ivan Adamec, Mario Habek
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2013 May 15, 328 (1): 24-7

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the roles of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), auditory evoked potentials (AEP) and vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) in the evaluation of brainstem involvement in multiple sclerosis (MS).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Altogether 32 patients with the diagnosis of MS participated in the study. The following data was collected from all patients: age, gender, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, brainstem functional system score (BSFS) (part of the EDSS evaluating brainstem symptomatology), and involvement of the brainstem on the brain MRI. AEP and ocular VEMP (oVEMP) and cervical VEMP (cVEMP) were studied in all patients.

RESULTS: BSFS, MRI, AEP, oVEMP and cVEMP involvement of the brainstem was evident in 9 (28.1%), 14 (43.8%), 7 (21.9%), 12 (37.5%) and 10 (31.0%) patients, respectively. None of the tests used showed statistically significant advantage in the detection of brainstem lesions. When combining oVEMP and cVEMP 18 (56.3%) patients showed brainstem involvement. This combination showed brainstem involvement in greater percentage than BSFS or AEP, with statistical significance (p=0.035 and p=0.007, respectively).

CONCLUSION: VEMP is a reliable method in detection of brainstem involvement in MS. It is comparable with MRI, but superior to clinical examination or AEP.

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