University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Effects of anesthesthetic regimens and other confounding factors affecting the interpretation of motor evoked potentials during pediatric spine surgery


Balvin, M.J., Song, K.M., & Slimp, J.S.



Publication Info:

American Journal of Electroneurodiagnostic Technology, 50:219-244


Children undergoing corrective spine surgery are at risk of serious neurologic injury. Monitoring transcranial electric motor evoked potentials (TCeMEPs) during these procedures may identify and help prevent injury to motor pathways. The difficulty in obtaining consistent motor evoked potential (MEP) responses during pediatric spine surgery can result in part to the suppression of evoked responses caused by volatile inhalational anesthetics, elevated levels of propofol, and/or physiologic variables. Data obtained from 140 pediatric patients who underwent spine surgery with MEP monitoring were retrospectively analyzed and evaluated for age and anesthetic effects on stimulation variables. MEPs acquired under inhalational anesthetic agents required greater stimulation compared to intravenous propofol anesthesia. Additionally, the responses were more variable when inhalational agents were used. These effects were more prominent in younger age patients. The number of alerts of MEP loss or reduction related to anesthetic levels or blood pressure changes was higher under inhalational agents.

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