Which evoked potential tests are useful in the evaluation of multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Evoked potentials (ie, recording of the timing of CNS responses to specific stimuli) can be useful neurophysiologic studies for evaluation of MS. These tests, which are used to identify subclinical lesions but which are nonspecific for MS, include the following:

VEPs are performed by having a patient focus on a reversing black-and-white checkerboard pattern. Delays in latencies indicate demyelination in the anterior visual pathways. VEPs are not typically necessary for patients with clear clinical evidence of optic neuritis (ON).

SSEPs evaluate the posterior column of the spinal cord, the brainstem, and the cerebral cortex. Delays in latencies of various peaks indicate demyelination in the correlated pathway of the spinal cord or brain.

BAEPs are performed to evaluate ipsilateral asymptomatic MS lesions in the auditory pathways. They are less sensitive than VEPs and SSEPs.


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