Evoked Potentials: Aortic Surgery

Advanced, Organ-Based and Clinical Sciences

There are multiple modalities currently used in practice to prevent paraplegia after aortic surgery including distal aortic perfusion, lumbar drains to monitor ICP and drain CSF, reimplantation of intercostal arteries, and moderate hypothermia. Neurophysiologic monitoring via somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) can provide a means of predicting neurologic deficits intraoperatively.

If SSEPs or MEPs remain normal, the negative predictive value for immediate neurologic damage is high and there is a very low probability that these patients will awake with neurologic deficit.

SSEP and MEP monitoring are highly correlated when changes seen intraoperatively were irreversible. This is highly associated with immediate neurologic damage on awakening.

SSEPs are not a good predictor of delayed neurologic deficit as the pathophysiology of delayed deficits is different than those seen immediately postoperatively.


    Loubser PG, Sheinbaum R. Neurophysiologic Monitoring during Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Surgery. Anesthesiology 6 2012, Vol.116, 1397-1398

    Anesthesiology. 2012 Jun;116(6):1397-8; author reply 1398

    [PubMed: 21878808]

    Ann Thorac Surg;1999 Jun;67(6):1947-52; discussion 1953-8

    [PubMed: 10391346]


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Susan Walters, MD