A comparison between threshold criterion and amplitude criterion in transcranial motor evoked potentials during surgery for supratentorial lesions
Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEThe aim of this study was to compare sensitivity and specificity between the novel threshold and amplitude criteria for motor evoked potentials (MEPs) monitoring after transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) during surgery for supratentorial lesions in the same patient cohort.METHODSOne hundred twenty-six patients were included. All procedures were performed under general anesthesia. Craniotomies did not expose motor cortex, so that direct mapping was less suitable. After TES, MEPs were recorded bilaterally from abductor pollicis brevis (APB), from orbicularis oris (OO), and/or from tibialis anterior (TA). The percentage increase in the threshold level was assessed and considered significant if it exceeded by more than 20% on the affected side the percentage increase on the unaffected side. Amplitude on the affected side was measured with a stimulus intensity of 150% of the threshold level set for each muscle.RESULTSEighteen of 126 patients showed a significant change in the threshold level as well as an amplitude reduction of more than 50% in MEPs recorded from APB, and 15 of the patients had postoperative deterioration of motor function of the arm (temporary in 8 cases and permanent in 7 [true-positive and false-negative results]). Recording from TA was performed in 66 patients; 4 developed postoperative deterioration of motor function of the leg (temporary in 3 cases and permanent in 1), and showed a significant change in the threshold level, and an amplitude reduction of more than 50% occurred in 1 patient. An amplitude reduction of more than 50% occurred in another 10 patients, without a significant change in the threshold level or postoperative deterioration. Recording from OO was performed in 61 patients; 3 developed postoperative deterioration of motor function of facial muscles (temporary in 2 cases and permanent in 1) and had a significant change in the threshold level, and 2 of the patients had an amplitude reduction of more than 50%. Another 6 patients had an amplitude reduction of more than 50% but no significant change in the threshold level or postoperative deterioration.Sensitivity of the threshold criterion was 100% when MEPs were recorded from APB, OO, or TA, and its specificity was 97%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. Sensitivity of the amplitude criterion was 100%, 67%, and 25%, with a specificity of 97%, 90%, and 84%, respectively.CONCLUSIONSThe threshold criterion was comparable to the amplitude criterion with a stimulus intensity set at 150% of the threshold level regarding sensitivity and specificity when recording MEPs from APB, and superior to it when recording from TA or OO.