Multi-modality evoked potentials in hypoxaemia

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1986 Oct;64(4):328-33. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(86)90156-2.


The auditory nerve-brain-stem evoked response (ABR) has been shown to be insensitive to hypoxic inspiratory gas mixtures which severely depress the EEG. In order to determine the relative sensitivities of additional brain regions and pathways to hypoxaemia, anaesthetized paralysed cats were ventilated with various gas mixtures while recording the evoked responses of the auditory, somatosensory (including peripheral nerve, brain-stem and primary cortical components), visual and vestibular systems. Arterial blood pressure was maintained by dopamine infusion and pH was corrected with bicarbonate. Hypoxic gas mixtures (6-7% O2) presented for 60 min, causing severe hypoxaemia (paO2 20-30 mm Hg; O2 saturation 25-50%), were without effect on the somatosensory, vestibular and visual EPs while the auditory evoked potentials (ABR and cortical components) were depressed. However, if arterial blood pressure was allowed to fall, all of the evoked potentials became severely depressed and isoelectric. These results and others indicate that the cortical components are qualitatively similar to the more peripheral evoked potentials. The resistance of these evoked potentials to controlled hypoxaemia is probably due to their generation by oligosynaptic pathways and to a compensatory switch to anaerobic metabolism and to an elevation of cerebral blood flow.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual*
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Vestibular Nerve / physiopathology