Lesion detection in MS patients with and without clinical brainstem disorders: magnetic resonance imaging and brainstem auditory evoked potentials compared

Eur Neurol. 1989;29(6):317-22. doi: 10.1159/000116438.


The findings of the present study can be summed up in the following points: (1) brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP), as compared with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), has a greater capacity and a lower cost in disclosing brainstem plaques both in MS patients with symptoms or signs of actual brainstem involvement and in clinically silent ones. This makes BAEP a useful technique for the neurologist, who can confirm the clinical suspicion of a brainstem lesion and follow the evolution of the disease in the patient. (2) The sensitivity of BAEP is lower than that of MRI as far as the anterior lesions of the brainstem are concerned. (3) MRI is more specific than BAEP, inasmuch as several types of injuries can alter the BAEP, while the demyelinating plaque has a specific image and can only be confused with little lacunar infarcts. (4) Plaques that produced symptoms or signs in the past can eventually disappear and be no longer detected by a subsequent MRI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Stem / pathology*
  • Brain Stem / physiopathology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic