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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2004 Jan;42(1):110-3.

Improved neuromonitoring during spinal surgery using double-train transcranial electrical stimulation.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) evoked by transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) have become an important technique for monitoring spinal cord function intra-operatively, but can fail in some patients. A new technique of double-train stimulation is described. A multipulse transcranial electrical stimulus is preceded by a preconditioning pulse train that leads to larger MEP responses. An MEP monitoring system was adapted for double-train transcranial stimulation (DTS). MEP responses from 160 anterior tibial muscles obtained by double-train stimulation were analysed. All patients received propofol/remifentanil/O2/N2O anaesthesia. Fifty-two (83%) out of 63 single-train tibial MEPs with response amplitudes below 100 microV were magnified to over 100 microV, with an inter-train (inter-stimulus) interval ITI = 10-35 ms. These 63 amplitudes were magnified by an overall logarithmic mean factor of 15.5. For 97 MEPs with amplitudes above 100 microV, the logarithmic mean facilitation factor was 2.4. It was concluded that double-train TES stimulation can markedly facilitate responses to a single stimulus train (STS). The facilitation appears to be most effective when the responses to STS would otherwise be small or absent. This preconditioning stimulation technique is therefore useful when an STS leads to responses that are too small for effective monitoring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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