What is the role of brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP) testing in determining prognosis of coma?

Updated: Oct 25, 2019
  • Author: Andrew B Evans, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
  • Print


BAEP can be done while the patient is sedated. It can be used as a prognostic indicator. Survival is unlikely in the absence of BAEP. The brain-dead patient invariably has abnormal BAEPs—either the absence of all waveforms or the presence of wave I and the absence of all subsequent waveforms.

BAEP and SEP studies were performed within 72 hours of admission in 127 children with severe head injury to predict the outcome of posttraumatic coma (brain death or survival). On first assessment, 50 comatose children had normal BAEP and SEP; 78% survived and 22% deteriorated and died. Of the 45 who had abnormal findings; 69% improved and survived, whereas 31% deteriorated and died. All 32 children who did not have recordable BAEP and SEP died. These data suggest that BAER is useful for predicting neurologic outcome in this setting.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!