Prognostic value of brainstem auditory and visual evoked potentials in cardiac arrest patients with targeted temperature management

Resuscitation. 2021 Jul:164:12-19. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2021.04.024. Epub 2021 May 5.


Purpose: We analysed the prognostic value of somatosensory, brainstem auditory and visual evoked potentials (SSEPs, BAEPs and VEPs, respectively) for outcome prediction in cardiac arrest patients with targeted temperature management (TTM) and assessed whether BAEP and VEP measurements conferred added value to SSEP measurements.

Methods: Cases with SSEPs and VEPs or BAEPs were reviewed in a TTM registry. We focused on whether the following responses were clearly discernible: N20 for SSEPs, V for BAEPs, and P100 for VEPs. Each type of evoked potential was classified as absent, present or indeterminable. Neurological outcomes after 6 months were dichotomized as good (Cerebral Performance Category [CPC] 1-2) or poor (CPC 3-5).

Results: From 185 patients, 185 SSEPs, 172 BAEPs and 178 VEPs were included. None of the patients with a good outcome had absent SSEP, BAEP or VEP responses. Absent SSEP, BAEP and VEP responses yielded sensitivities of 42.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33.7-51.3%), 9.4% (95% CI, 4.6-16.7%) and 54.4% (95% CI, 46.0-62.5%) for poor outcomes, respectively. For the overall cohort, the addition of VEP measurements improved the sensitivities of single SSEP measurements (65.8% [95% CI, 57.7-73.3%] versus 36.2% [95% CI, 28.6-44.4%] and multimodal prognostication using SSEPs, brainstem reflex and brain computed tomography (75.7% [95% CI, 68.0-82.3%] versus 60.5% [95% CI, 52.3-68.4%]).

Conclusions: The prognostic value of VEPs was comparable to that of SSEPs, but the use of BAEPs was limited due to their low sensitivity. Additional VEP measurements can reduce prognostic uncertainty.

Keywords: Evoked potentials; Heart arrest; Induced hypothermia; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Stem
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Heart Arrest* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Prognosis