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Ear Hear. 2011 Feb;32(1):104-13. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3181ec5d95.

Electrical compound action potentials recorded with automated neural response telemetry: threshold changes as a function of time and electrode position.

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Apelian Cochlear Implant Center, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York, USA.



Since the introduction of neural response telemetry (NRT) for the Nucleus 24 cochlear implant (CI24), researchers and clinicians have investigated the feasibility of using the electrically evoked compound action potential (ECAP) threshold to objectively predict psychophysical measurements that are used in the programming of the speech processor. The ability to substitute objective for behavioral measurements, particularly measurements made at the time of surgery, would greatly facilitate programming the MAP for young children and other individuals who are not able to provide reliable behavioral data required for MAP programming. There have been a number of studies that have examined characteristics of the ECAP measured at the time of surgery and postoperatively; however, all the available published data are based on the CI24. With the introduction of the Nucleus Freedom device, an automated NRT (AutoNRT) program became available, which was capable of measuring ECAP thresholds at lower levels than was previously possible with NRT software associated with the CI24 device. It was hypothesized that the enhancements to the NRT program may improve the predictability of postoperative measurements from intraoperatively recorded ECAP thresholds. The purpose of this study was to track ECAP thresholds obtained using AutoNRT as a function of time and electrode position.


ECAP thresholds were recorded from 71 children and adults implanted with the Nucleus Freedom device using the AutoNRT test protocol. ECAP thresholds were obtained at the time of surgery, at initial stimulation, and 3 mos poststimulation. Five electrodes located at basal, middle, and apical positions in the cochlea were tested at each time interval and thresholds were compared.


Significant differences were found in ECAP thresholds measured with AutoNRT as a function of both time and electrode position. Basal electrodes had higher ECAP thresholds than apical electrodes and that relationship was consistent for each time period. Thresholds for all electrodes decreased between surgery and initial stimulation and remained relatively stable at 3 mos poststimulation. ECAP thresholds were consistently lower for children compared with adults at each time point. Mid-array electrodes (11 and 16) showed the least amount of change over time.


AutoNRT thresholds demonstrated significant change over time, limiting the ability to use intraoperatively recorded ECAP thresholds to predict postoperative measurements. In this study, electrodes 11 and 16 showed the least amount of change in ECAP threshold over time and therefore would be the best choices for estimating postoperative ECAP thresholds. Although not an ideal solution, mid-array ECAP thresholds obtained intraoperatively may prove to be helpful in creating a first MAP when no other behavioral or electrophysiological data are available.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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