Somatosensory evoked potentials in patients affected by unilateral cerebrovascular lesions with onset during the perinatal period or adulthood

J Child Neurol. 2001 Aug;16(8):541-7. doi: 10.1177/088307380101600801.


Unilateral cerebrovascular lesions occurring during adulthood have been reported to be accompanied by high-amplitude somatosensory evoked potentials over the nonaffected hemisphere; however, the mechanisms by which somatosensory evoked potential amplitude increases over the nonaffected hemisphere are still unclear. To investigate the eventual presence of similar amplitude abnormalities in children, we recorded somatosensory evoked potentials in three groups of patients: one with unilateral cerebrovascular lesions that occurred during the perinatal period and another two with unilateral cerebrovascular lesions occurring during late adulthood or old age. Group 1 was comprised of 12 children and young adults (age range 2 3/12-31 years, 6 males and 6 females) who suffered from unilateral cerebrovascular lesion with perinatal onset. Four control groups were arranged with age matched to that of the patients. Adult patients were subdivided into two subgroups (group 2: n = 10, all males; group 3: n = 18, 12 males and 6 females) on the basis of the presence or absence of sensory impairment over the hemiplegic side. In group 1, the four youngest subjects, aged less than 6 years, were found to show somatosensory evoked potentials of abnormally high amplitude over the nonaffected hemisphere, with a "giant" main negative wave at around 45 ms (range 38.7-49.2), strictly localized over the central areas contralateral to the lesion; in normal controls, there was no such wave. All patients in group 2 were found to be affected by large infarctions in the territory of the middle cerebral artery, whereas patients in group 3 presented with subcortical lesions of the internal capsule isolated or in association with an involvement of the frontal and/or temporal cortex. Regarding somatosensory evoked potential parameters measured over the nonaffected hemisphere in adult/elderly subjects, a significant difference was observed for N20 and P22 latency, which was longer in both groups of patients than in controls. There is a significant difference in the neurophysiologic consequences of unilateral cerebrovascular lesion, as well as over the nonaffected hemisphere, if it occurs during early infancy or during adulthood. Our findings show a new type of "giant" somatosensory evoked potentials in some children affected by unilateral cerebrovascular lesion with perinatal onset.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agnosia / diagnosis
  • Agnosia / etiology
  • Agnosia / physiopathology
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Atrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Basal Ganglia / diagnostic imaging
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hemiplegia / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / complications
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / diagnosis
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Internal Capsule / diagnostic imaging
  • Internal Capsule / pathology
  • Internal Capsule / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Anticonvulsants