Real-time intraoperative monitoring of brainstem auditory evoked potentials during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

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OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to define a new protocol for intraoperative monitoring (IOM) of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) during microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery to treat hemifacial spasm (HFS) and to evaluate the usefulness of this new protocol to prevent hearing impairment.

METHODS

To define the optimal stimulation rate, estimate the number of trials to be averaged, and identify useful warning criteria in IOM of BAEPs, the authors performed a preliminary study of 13 patients with HFS in 2010. They increased the stimulation rate from 10.1 Hz/sec to 100.1 Hz/sec by 10-Hz increments, and they elevated the average time from 100 times to 1000 times by 100-unit increments at a fixed stimulus rate of 43.9 Hz. After defining the optimal stimulation rate and the number of trials that needed to be averaged for IOM of BAEPs, they also identified the useful warning criteria for this protocol for MVD surgery. From January to December 2013, 254 patients with HFS underwent MVD surgery following the new IOM of BAEPs protocol. Pure-tone audiometry and speech discrimination scoring were performed before surgery and 1 week after surgery. To evaluate the usefulness of the new protocol, the authors compared the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment with the results from the group that underwent MVD surgery prior to the new protocol.

RESULTS

Through a preliminary study, the authors confirmed that it was possible to obtain a reliable wave when using a stimulation rate of 43.9 Hz/sec and averaging 400 trials. Only a Wave V amplitude loss > 50% was useful as a warning criterion when using the new protocol. A reliable BAEP could be obtained in approximately 9.1 seconds. When the new protocol was used, 2 patients (0.8%) showed no recovery of Wave V amplitude loss > 50%, and only 1 of those 2 patients (0.39%) ultimately had postoperative hearing impairment. When compared with the outcomes in the pre-protocol group, hearing impairment incidence decreased significantly among patients who underwent surgery with the new protocol (0.39% vs 4.02%, p = 0.002). There were no significant differences between the 2 surgery groups regarding other complications, including facial palsy, sixth cranial nerve palsy, and vocal cord palsy.

CONCLUSIONS

There was a significant decrease in postoperative hearing impairment after MVD for HFS when the new protocol for IOM of BAEPs was used. Real-time IOM of BAEPs, which can obtain a reliable BAEP in less than 10 seconds, is a successful new procedure for preventing hearing impairment during MVD surgery for HFS.

ABBREVIATIONSBAEP = brainstem auditory evoked potentials; CN = cranial nerve; CPA = cerebellopontine angle; HFS = hemifacial spasm; IOM = intraoperative monitoring; MVD = microvascular decompression; PTA = pure tone audiometry; SDS = speech discrimination scoring.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to define a new protocol for intraoperative monitoring (IOM) of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) during microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery to treat hemifacial spasm (HFS) and to evaluate the usefulness of this new protocol to prevent hearing impairment.

METHODS

To define the optimal stimulation rate, estimate the number of trials to be averaged, and identify useful warning criteria in IOM of BAEPs, the authors performed a preliminary study of 13 patients with HFS in 2010. They increased the stimulation rate from 10.1 Hz/sec to 100.1 Hz/sec by 10-Hz increments, and they elevated the average time from 100 times to 1000 times by 100-unit increments at a fixed stimulus rate of 43.9 Hz. After defining the optimal stimulation rate and the number of trials that needed to be averaged for IOM of BAEPs, they also identified the useful warning criteria for this protocol for MVD surgery. From January to December 2013, 254 patients with HFS underwent MVD surgery following the new IOM of BAEPs protocol. Pure-tone audiometry and speech discrimination scoring were performed before surgery and 1 week after surgery. To evaluate the usefulness of the new protocol, the authors compared the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment with the results from the group that underwent MVD surgery prior to the new protocol.

RESULTS

Through a preliminary study, the authors confirmed that it was possible to obtain a reliable wave when using a stimulation rate of 43.9 Hz/sec and averaging 400 trials. Only a Wave V amplitude loss > 50% was useful as a warning criterion when using the new protocol. A reliable BAEP could be obtained in approximately 9.1 seconds. When the new protocol was used, 2 patients (0.8%) showed no recovery of Wave V amplitude loss > 50%, and only 1 of those 2 patients (0.39%) ultimately had postoperative hearing impairment. When compared with the outcomes in the pre-protocol group, hearing impairment incidence decreased significantly among patients who underwent surgery with the new protocol (0.39% vs 4.02%, p = 0.002). There were no significant differences between the 2 surgery groups regarding other complications, including facial palsy, sixth cranial nerve palsy, and vocal cord palsy.

CONCLUSIONS

There was a significant decrease in postoperative hearing impairment after MVD for HFS when the new protocol for IOM of BAEPs was used. Real-time IOM of BAEPs, which can obtain a reliable BAEP in less than 10 seconds, is a successful new procedure for preventing hearing impairment during MVD surgery for HFS.

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is defined as unintended twitching of one side of the face. It is usually caused by pulsatile vascular compression on the root exit zone of the facial nerve.5 Microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery has been the most effective treatment.2,3 However, as MVD surgery involves relieving the neurovascular conflict physically, this procedure may cause hearing impairment from injury to cranial nerve (CN) VIII.19 With the use of intraoperative monitoring (IOM) of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs), the risk of hearing impairment during MVD has decreased significantly.6,11,13,15,20 Despite many studies that conclude that IOM of BAEPs reduces the risk of hearing impairment, no universally recommended protocol or warning criteria have been developed. The American Clinical Neurophysiology Society has recommended a stimulus rate of 5–12 Hz/sec and averaging of 1000–4000 trials or IOM and a 1.0-msec prolongation or > 50% decrease in amplitude of Wave V as the warning criteria to prevent hearing impairment effectively.1 When we performed IOM of BAEPs using a stimulus rate of 10 Hz and averaging of 1000 trials, it took about 100 sec to obtain BAEPs. Under this protocol, some patients occasionally showed a slight change on the initial Wave V, followed by a significant change in the form of complete loss of the subsequent Wave V; it is the change in the second wave that is associated with hearing impairment (Fig. 1). Nerve injury can occur within a very short time frame, and the damage can be severe enough to cause irreversible nerve harm. So the above-mentioned protocol may be a limited in its ability to prevent postoperative hearing impairment, because of the relatively long time it takes. To prevent hearing impairment more appropriately, it is very important to obtain BAEPs in as short a time as possible while still obtaining reliable waves.14 With these constraints in mind, we developed and evaluated a new protocol for IOM of BAEPs.

FIG. 1.
FIG. 1.

Example of consecutive IOM of BAEPs using a stimulation rate of 10 Hz/sec and averaging 1000 trials. A: First BAEP showing minimal Wave V change. B: Second BAEP showing a slight change in Wave V (the latency of Wave V was delayed by 0.70 msec [ms] with a minimal decrease in the amplitude). C: Third BAEP showing that the Wave V latency was delayed by 1.44 msec and the Wave V amplitude decreased about 70%; The green line represents baseline BAEP; the black line, obtained BAEP. Figure is available in color online only.

Methods

Preliminary Study of the Optimal Stimulation Rate and Number of Trials Averaged

When we performed IOM of BAEPs on 13 HFS patients in 2010, we increased the stimulation rate from 10.1 Hz/sec to 100.1 Hz/sec by 10-Hz increments, and we defined whether wave disintegration happened depending on the simulation rate (Fig. 2A). We used the Xltek Protektor (Natus Medical Inc.) for IOM. As the stimulation rate increased, the wave amplitude decreased and wave latency was prolonged compared with when using a rate of 10.1 Hz/sec. On the other hand, when we applied a faster stimulation rate, we obtained BAEPs in a shorter amount of time; however, when the stimulation rate reached 50 Hz or more, the BAEP wave was affected by a surgical artifact. When we used a stimulation rate of 40–50 Hz, we obtained a relatively stable wave and reduced the effect of the surgical artifact. We determined that 43.9 Hz/sec is the ideal stimulation rate for IOM of BAEPs.

FIG. 2.
FIG. 2.

A: Waveform change according to stimulation rate (with averaging of 1000 trials). B: Averaging trials (with 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate) from IOM of BAEPs. Figure is available in color online only.

Second, to define the optimal number of trials for averaging, we performed IOM of BAEPs for 13 HFS patients while increasing the number of trials averaged from 100 to 1000 by 100-unit increments at a fixed stimulus rate of 43.9 Hz/sec. As shown in Fig. 2B, the waveform fluctuation was observed to be significant when averaging 100, 200, or 300 trials. When the number of trials averaged was over 400, the BAEP waveform became more stable, and then it was possible to obtain a reliable waveform. Furthermore, we determined that a waveform obtained by averaging 400 trials was not significantly different from a waveform obtained after averaging 1000 trials. Thus, we concluded that using a stimulation rate of 43.9 Hz/sec and 400 trials for IOM of BAEPs was the most optimal protocol for obtaining a reliable wave in the shortest period of time.

Preliminary Study of Useful Warning Criteria During IOM of BAEPs

When performing IOM of BAEPs, many researchers have empirically used a 1.0-msec prolongation or > 50% decrease in amplitude of Wave V as the warning criteria.12,16,18 However, when we performed BAEP monitoring using a 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate and an averaging 400 trials, some patients presented with even a 2- or 3-msec prolongation of Wave V without a concomitant change in amplitude (Fig. 3). Furthermore, those patients showing only a prolonged latency of Wave V without a decrease in amplitude experienced a recovery of the waveform after the surgical technique was altered or the operation was temporarily stopped. When patients did not recover 1.0 msec or more prolonged latency without a change in the amplitude of Wave V at the end of surgery, they still did not have permanent hearing impairment after surgery. This suggested to us that a Wave V latency prolongation > 1.0 msec was inadequate as a warning criterion, especially when performing IOM of BAEPs using a faster stimulation rate and shorter averaging trials. Thus, we concluded that only an Wave V amplitude loss > 50% was useful as a warning criterion.

FIG. 3.
FIG. 3.

Example of tracing IOM of BAEPs during MVD surgery for HFS. In this example, the latency prolongation of Wave V was 1.5 msec without an amplitude decrease during surgery. The patient did not experience hearing impairment after the surgery. Figure is available in color online only.

Evaluation of the New IOM Protocol for BAEP During MVD Surgery for HFS

We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of primary HFS patients who underwent MVD surgery with IOM of BAEPs from January to December 2013 at Samsung Medical Center. This study was approved by the Regional Committee for Ethics in Medical Research at Samsung Medical Center. The inclusion criteria for HFS were unilateral facial spasm demonstrated by synkinetic activities and abnormal lateral spread of evoked motor response on electromyography. Patients with secondary HFS were excluded through MRI, and patients with total deafness on the side of the body where the spasm was occurring were also excluded. The MVD surgical procedures have been described in our previous report.8 MVD was performed by a single neurosurgeon (K.P.). Pure tone audiometry (PTA) and speech discrimination scoring (SDS) were performed in all cases prior to surgery and were repeated within 3–7 days after surgery. The average PTA thresholds for 500, 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hz were calculated. When there was a decrease of more than 15 dB of the postoperative average PTA threshold or a decrease of more than 20% of SDS compared with baseline, we determined that significant hearing impairment had occurred.14 According to postoperative PTA and SDS, hearing impairment status was categorized as follows: Group 1, none or negligible; Group 2, decrease > 15 dB of PTA with a proportional decrease in SDS; Group 3, poor hearing loss (i.e., not total hearing loss) that is out of proportion with PTA change; and Group 4, deafness. Patients with significant hearing impairment underwent PTA and SDS again within 4 weeks. When a significant audiometric change was observed continuously until the last follow-up, the patient was diagnosed with permanent hearing loss.

IOM of BAEPs was performed with a 2-channel data acquisition system using a personal computer that also controlled all procedures during surgery—from administration of general anesthesia until dural closure. The monitoring equipment was placed in the operating room to enable the neurophysiologist to observe the BAEPs. BAEP stimuli were delivered through transducers that connect to plastic tubing with a sponge collar at the end. Alternating polarity clicks were used as a stimulus mode and stimulus intensity was set to 120 dB (sound pressure level). The contralateral ear was stimulated with white noise at 80 dB. We used subdermal needle electrodes for recording, and the electrodes were inserted at the vertex (Cz) and over the ipsilateral and contralateral earlobes, following the EEG 10–20 international system. The amplifier bandpass was 100 to 1000 Hz. We used a 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate and 400 averaged trials and obtained the BAEP within approximately 9.1 seconds. Only a Wave V amplitude loss > 50% was used as a warning criterion. If there was a Wave V amplitude loss > 50%, the surgeon was notified of the changes, and he then halted the operation and checked the surgical field carefully to identify the causes and correct them. If there was only a 1.0-msec prolongation of Wave V without an amplitude loss > 50% of Wave V, we did not notify the surgeon.

To evaluate the value of a Wave V amplitude loss > 50% as a warning criterion for identifying hearing impairment, we categorized patients according to changes in BAEP as follows: Group A, no change; Group B, recovery after decrease < 50%; Group C, recovery after decrease > 50%; and Group D, no recovery after decrease > 50%.

To evaluate the new protocol for IOM of BAEPs, we defined the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment. We then compared the results from patients who underwent the new protocol with those from the patients whose monitoring was conducted using a stimulation rate of 26.9 Hz/sec, 1000–2000 averaged trials, and a latency increase of 1 msec or an amplitude decrease of 50% in Wave V as a warning criterion.10 The same neurosurgeon (K.P.) performed the MVD surgeries in both groups. Comparisons of the IOM parameters between the 2 study groups are presented in Table 1.

TABLE 1.

Comparison of the parameters for IOM of BAEPs in the current and previous studies

ParameterCurrent StudyPrevious Study*
Stimulation rate43.9 Hz26.9 Hz
Number of averaging trials400 times1000–2000 times
Time to obtain BAEP∼9.1 sec∼37.1–74.3 sec
Warning criteria (for Wave V)50% decrease in amplitude1 msec latency prolongation or 50% decrease in amplitude

Refers to the 2011 study by Jo et al.10 in which our group analyzed data obtained in 1156 patients with HFS who were treated between April 1997 and February 2009.

Statistical Analysis

Categorical data, including the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment, were analyzed using the chi-square test and continuous data were analyzed with the independent t-test. Results were presented as means or proportions with corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 18.0 for Windows (SPSS, Inc.).

Results

Between January and December 2013, the new protocol for IOM of BAEPs was used for 254 consecutive HFS patients as part of their planned MVD surgery. Of the 254 patients who underwent the surgery with the new protocol, 182 patients were women (71.6%) and 72 were men (28.4%). The mean age of the patients was 51.93 ± 11.39 years. One hundred thirty-one patients (51.6%) had HFS on the left side, and 123 (48.4%) had HFS on the right side. The mean duration of HFS was 55.51 ± 55.5 months. Demographic data from the patients enrolled in the earlier study are shown in Table 2. We compared the demographic factors between the study groups and found a significant difference in mean age, disease duration, and distribution of offending vessels.

TABLE 2.

Comparison of the characteristics of the patients enrolled in the current and previous studies*

CharacteristicCurrent StudyPrevious Studyp Value
No. of patients2541156
Sex (M/F)72:182331: 825NS
Mean age51.93 ± 11.3948.96 ± 10.37<0.001
Side (lt/rt)131:123581:575NS
Mean duration of disease (mos)55.51 ± 49.1967.57 ± 57.180.001
Offending vessel<0.001
  AICA155 (61.0%)561 (48.5%)
  PICA57 (22.4%)335 (29.0%)
  Others23 (9.1%)28 (2.4%)
  Multiple19 (7.5%)174 (15.1%)

NS = not statistically significant.

Values represent numbers of patients unless otherwise indicated. Boldface type indicates statistical significance.

Refers to the 2011 study by Jo et al.10

When we analyzed the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment after receiving the new protocol (Table 3), we found that no patient had mild (Group 2) or moderate (Group 3) hearing impairment. Only 1 (0.39%) of the 254 patients exhibited total deafness (Group 4). In contrast, in the previous study, hearing impairment was observed in 46 (4.02%) of the 1144 patients included in the study. In particular, deafness occurred in 10 patients (0.87%). When these outcomes between the 2 groups were compared, we found that the incidence of hearing impairment decreased significantly after introduction of the new protocol (0.39% vs 4.02%, p = 0.002). However, we found no significant differences in other complications, including facial palsy, CN VI palsy, or vocal cord palsy (Table 3).

TABLE 3.

Comparison of postoperative hearing impairment and other complications in the current and previous studies*

ComplicationCurrent StudyPrevious Studyp Value
Postop hearing impairment
  Group 12531098
  Group 2026
  Group 3010
  Group 4110
  Total w/hearing impairment1 (0.39%)46 (4.02%)0.002
Other postop complications
  Facial palsy
    Transient21 (8.27%)70 (6.05%)0.194
    Permanent4 (1.57%)8 (0.69%)0.246
  CN VI palsy1 (0.39%)1 (0.09%)0.328
  Vocal cord palsy0 (0.00%)6 (0.52%)0.599

Values represent numbers of patients unless otherwise indicated. Boldface type indicates statistical significance.

Refers to the 2011 study by Jo et al.10

When we conducted BAEP monitoring using the new protocol, we observed significant changes in Wave V more often than when using the old protocol; thus we communicated to the surgeon more frequently to alert him to these changes. In response to these changes, the surgeon always stopped the surgery to perform corrective actions, such as removal of the retractor or repositioning of the Teflon until the Wave V was recovered. Despite obtaining a BAEP in 9.1 seconds, which is a very short time, many changes in the V-wave were observed in IOM of BAEPs (Table 4). Patients were classified into 4 groups based on the greatest amplitude reduction of Wave V compared with the baseline BAEPs. One hundred eighty-seven patients (73.6%) showed no significant change in BAEPs, and 51 patients (Group B) showed only mild change. Fourteen patients (Group C) had a > 50% decrease in V-wave amplitude but then experienced an improvement in Wave V after the surgeon was alerted to the amplitude drop-off. Only 2 patients (Group D) experienced no recovery after amplitude loss, one of which deteriorated to total deafness.

TABLE 4.

The correlation between BAEPs changes and postoperative hearing impairment in the current study

Group*No. of Pts (%)No. of Pts w/ Hearing ImpairmentMean Latency Prolongation (msec)
A187 (73.6%)0
B51 (20.1%)01.62 ± 0.66
C14 (5.5%)02.07 ± 0.73
D2 (0.8%)13.25 ± 0.07

Pts = patients.

The groups were defined as follows: Group A, no change; Group B, recovery after the decrease < 50%; Group C, recovery after decrease > 50%; Group D, no recovery after decrease > 50%.

We also estimated the greatest latency prolongation of Wave V (Table 4). The greater the amplitude change of Wave V, the more frequently a latency prolongation was observed. However, even patients in Group B had an average latency prolongation greater than 1.5 msec, while Group D patients had an average prolonged latency of 3.25 msec. Although patients in Groups B and C had more than a 1-msec latency prolongation, none of the prolongations led to hearing impairment.

Discussion

Although hearing impairment after MVD surgery for HFS is not common, it is a serious and significant complication, so prevention is very important. Injury to CN VIII during MVD surgery could occur through several causes: traction during cerebellar retraction, ischemia due to vasospasm during manipulation of the compressive vessel loops, mechanical or thermal trauma during vessel and nerve dissection, or compression by the inserted Teflon pad.15,20 Nerve damage due to the above-mentioned causes can occur rapidly and be irreversible; thus, it is important to obtain a reliable BAEP in the shortest time possible to avoid serious hearing impairment.1 In our preliminary study, we established a reliable BAEP wave within 10 seconds using a stimulation rate of 43.9 Hz/sec and averaging 400 trials. When using Wave V amplitude loss > 50% as a warning criterion, we significantly lowered the incidence of hearing impairment to less than 0.4%. Because there was no significant difference in the incidence of other complications, including facial palsy, CN VI palsy, and vocal cord palsy, we believe that the reduction in the incidence of hearing impairment was the result of our protocol changes, not a learning effect or an observation effect, despite the sequential nature of our study. Also, although significant differences were observed in mean age, disease duration, and distribution of the involved vessels between surgery groups, the effect of these differences on postoperative hearing impairment is probably minimal.10

In a previous study from our group, hearing impairment occurred in 46 patients after MVD surgery (4.02%), even though IOM of BAEPs was performed.10 In that study, we used a stimulation rate of 26.9 Hz/sec and used 1000–2000 for averaging, so it took 37.1 to 74.3 seconds to obtain BAEPs. However, when using that protocol for IOM of BAEPs, we found that some patients sometimes showed a minor change in the first BAEP, which then led to severe changes, such as wave loss, in the next BAEP, and most patients following that pattern eventually experienced severe hearing impairment.

Therefore, we concluded that our previous protocol for IOM of BAEPs was limited in its ability to prevent CN VIII injury during surgery, so we developed a real-time protocol to monitor for signs of this damage. It is well established that faster stimulation rates can collect a fixed number of averaged trials in a shorter time period, which allows for faster feedback to the surgeon. Furthermore, amplitude is inversely proportional to the stimulation rate and the disintegration of the waveform amplitude begins at a higher stimulation rate.4 However, with the development of an IOM machine, the disintegration of waveform amplitude that occurred when using a higher stimulation rate improved greatly, and a significant difference in disintegration was not observed when we compared the waveforms obtained at an ∼40/sec stimulation rate and the waveforms obtained at a 10 Hz/sec stimulation rate in the preliminary study. Thus, we were able to obtain the BAEPs from a specific number of trials in a much shorter time with a higher stimulation rate.

When we were able to obtain a BAEP within 10 seconds using the 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate and averaging 400 trials, we more frequently saw significant changes in Wave V compared with when we monitored using different parameters. These findings suggest that damage to the CN VIII can happen repeatedly in a very short time, so taking longer than 10 seconds to obtain a BAEP will decrease the effectiveness of monitoring to prevent CN VIII damage. During surgeries where we used the new protocol, when we detected a significant change in BAEP, we alerted the neurosurgeon immediately, which allowed the surgeon to remove the retractor or reposition the Teflon; after the surgeon made these adjustments, BAEP loss was usually recovered. Thus, we conclude that obtaining a reliable BAEP in less than 10 seconds is highly effective at preventing damage to the CN VIII during MVD surgery.

Despite the use of IOM of BAEP for over 30 years, warning criteria and stimulation parameters are still arbitrarily selected in many studies.4,12 Based somewhat on empirical knowledge, a 1.0-msec prolongation or > 50% decrease in amplitude of Wave V has historically been considered significant and indicative of injury to CN VIII.4 However, as shown in our results, a 1-msec latency prolongation of Wave V was not associated with postoperative hearing impairment when using the new protocol that could obtain a reliable BAEP in less than 10 seconds. One of 2 patients (Group D) who showed a latency prolongation > 3 msec did not have postoperative hearing impairment. Consistent with our study, many other researchers have reported that latency prolongation does not have an obvious correlation with hearing impairment. Hatayama and Møller concluded that the amplitude of Wave V was a more sensitive predictor of hearing impairment than the latency.7 They reported that 61% of 18 patients had statistically significant hearing impairment when a > 40% drop in Wave V amplitude occurred. Ramnarayan and Mackenzie also reported that hearing impairment occurred in 25% of 8 patients who experienced a 50% decrease in Wave V amplitude, and that the incidence of hearing impairment increased to 45% of 11 patients when the amplitude decrease was 75%; when amplitude loss was 100%, the incidence rose to 100%.17 Recently, the Pittsburgh Medical Center reported that a > 50% drop in amplitude, transient loss, and persistent loss of Wave V showed a sensitivity/specificity of 0.905/0.701, 0.667/0.903, and 0.429/0.870, respectively, and that loss of Wave V during MVD surgery is a specific indicator of postoperative hearing impairment.21 Moreover, James and Husain insisted that only a complete loss of Wave V was associated with hearing impairment, which is quite different from the assumed necessity of a > 50% amplitude drop.6 Therefore, the use of latency prolongation of Wave V as a warning criterion has many limitations for preventing hearing impairment and could lead to unnecessary prolongation or even alteration of the surgical procedure.9

The usefulness of our new protocol for preventing hearing impairment was evaluated only among HFS patients undergoing MVD surgery, and we therefore do not know whether it has limitations for preventing hearing impairment during MVD surgery for other conditions, such as a cerebellopontine angle (CPA) tumor. James and Husain have already stated that warning criteria must be applied differently depending on the disease, and much smaller changes might be meaningful in CPA tumor surgery.9 However, we are optimistic that our protocol can prevent postoperative hearing impairment even in CPA cases because of our rapid BAEP establishment time.

Our new protocol for IOM of BAEPs is not intended to represent a definitive guideline for monitoring injury to the CN VIII during MVD surgery among HFS patients. To prevent postoperative hearing impairment from MVD surgery, further research on the protocol for IOM of BAEP will be necessary.

Conclusions

We were able to obtain a reliable waveform of BAEP in a very short time period (9.1 seconds) using a 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate and the averaging time of 400 trials during MVD surgery for HFS patients. When we used a Wave V amplitude loss > 50% as a warning criterion, we were able to reduce the incidence of postoperative hearing impairment to less than 0.4%. We think that obtaining a reliable BAEP in less than 10 seconds is a real-time IOM procedure of BAEP and is very important for preventing damage to the CN VIII during MVD surgery.

References

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Disclosures

The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

Author Contributions

Conception and design: K Park, Joo, SK Park. Acquisition of data: K Park, Joo, SK Park. Analysis and interpretation of data: K Park, Joo. Drafting the article: K Park, Joo, SK Park. Critically revising the article: all authors. Reviewed submitted version of manuscript: all authors. Approved the final version of the manuscript on behalf of all authors: K Park. Statistical analysis: K Park, Joo. Administrative/technical/material support: K Park, SK Park. Study supervision: K Park.

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Article Information

Dr. Joo and S. K. Park contributed equally to this work.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online January 29, 2016; DOI: 10.3171/2015.10.JNS151224.

Correspondence Kwan Park, Department of Neurosurgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 81 Irwonro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-710, Republic of Korea. email: kwanmd.park@samsung.com.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

Headings

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Example of consecutive IOM of BAEPs using a stimulation rate of 10 Hz/sec and averaging 1000 trials. A: First BAEP showing minimal Wave V change. B: Second BAEP showing a slight change in Wave V (the latency of Wave V was delayed by 0.70 msec [ms] with a minimal decrease in the amplitude). C: Third BAEP showing that the Wave V latency was delayed by 1.44 msec and the Wave V amplitude decreased about 70%; The green line represents baseline BAEP; the black line, obtained BAEP. Figure is available in color online only.

  • View in gallery

    A: Waveform change according to stimulation rate (with averaging of 1000 trials). B: Averaging trials (with 43.9 Hz/sec stimulation rate) from IOM of BAEPs. Figure is available in color online only.

  • View in gallery

    Example of tracing IOM of BAEPs during MVD surgery for HFS. In this example, the latency prolongation of Wave V was 1.5 msec without an amplitude decrease during surgery. The patient did not experience hearing impairment after the surgery. Figure is available in color online only.

References

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