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Int J Neurosci. 2002 Mar;112(3):349-69.

Anesthesia and temperature effects on somatosensory evoked potentials produced by train stimuli.

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Department of Neurology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To determine the effect of anesthesia, temperature, and stimulus characteristics on the response of upper extremity somatosensory evoked responses (SSEP) to repetitive stimulation.


Pairs and trains of electrical stimuli were used to elicit the upper extremity SSEP, and the amplitudes of the N20-P22, N13, and Erb's point potentials produced by each stimulus were measured. The ratio of the amplitude of the response to each stimulus to that produced by the first stimulus in a given train was computed. Recordings were also made directly from the cortical surface in a single patient.


There were only minimal effects of anesthesia, temperature, or stimulus characteristics on the amplitude ratios for the N13 and Erb's point potentials. The N20-P22 amplitude ratio demonstrated facilitation with interstimulus intervals in the 20-100 ms range and was markedly reduced with hypothermia. The degree of facilitation was strongly dependent on isoflurane and nitrous oxide concentrations. In response to stimulation with trains of four stimuli, increased amplitudes of the N20-P22 complex were seen maximally with the second response while the third and fourth responses were of lower amplitude.


There are strong effects of anesthesia and temperature on the cortical responses to repetitive stimulation of the upper extremity. Speculations on the origin of these effects were made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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