✓ Averaged somatosensory evoked potentials from the epidural space in response to sciatic nerve stimulation were recorded in bipolar and common reference mode in cats following various types of injury. An investigation was conducted on the development and properties of the spinal evoked response recorded from the center of the injury site, designated here as the “spinal cord evoked injury potential.” Typically it is a two-peak monophasic positive potential, approximately 40 msec in duration, with a slight negative afterwave. With increasing distance from the site of injury, its amplitude rapidly decreases, whereas latency remains constant. The common reference recording technique resulted in an earlier and better demonstration of the evoked injury potential, especially when it was transitory or incomplete. When impairment of conduction developed gradually, the evoked injury potential developed gradually too. In serial recordings along the spinal cord axis, the transition from a normal triphasic to a monophasic evoked injury potential allowed a precise localization of the lesion.
These data suggest that the diagnostic value of intraoperative spinal cord monitoring may be increased by adopting a technique that incorporates several epidural recordings with a common reference recording technique. The spinal cord evoked injury potential seems to be a more sensitive indicator of spinal cord injury than the cortical evoked potential. The findings are discussed in the light of the presently developing spinal cord monitoring techniques.