Goal: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of electrophysiological monitoring during the resection of vascular malformations. Methods: Between September 1994 and April 1996, we surgically resected vascular malformations (31 arteriovenous malformations, 22 angiographically occult vascular malformations) from 53 patients (56 procedures) and used intraoperative evoked potential monitoring. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) were monitored in 54 procedures (96%), and brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) in 17 (30%). The neurological status of the patients was evaluated before and after surgery. Findings: Five of the 54 patients (9%) monitored with SSEPs had SSEP changes (4 transient, 1 persistent) coinciding with new clinical neurological deficits in 4 patients (all transient). In all 4 patients who had transient SSEP changes, the changes resolved with adjustment or removal of clips on feeding vessels (2 patients) or with elevating mean arterial pressure (MAP) (2 patients). Forty-seven patients (91%) had neither SSEP or neurological examination alterations. One of 17 patients (6%) monitored with BAEPs had neurological and persistent BAEP changes, 15 (88%) had neither BAEP or neurological changes, and 1 (6%) had a neurological change despite no change in BAEP (false negative). The sensitivity of SSEP and BAEP for predicting a new postoperative deficit (transient or prolonged) in this series was 86% (6/7); specificity was 98% (55/56). Clinical outcome was excellent in 41 patients, good in 11 and poor in 1 (no patients died) and was largely related to pretreatment grade. Conclusion: SSEPs and BAEPs predict the likelihood of clinical neurological injury during resection of vascular malformations with high sensitivity and specificity and may prove a useful adjunct in treating these lesions.
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