J Korean Acad Rehabil Med.  2007 Jun;31(3):341-345.

Diagnostic Usefulness of Dermatomal Somatosensory Evoked Potentials by Low Intensity Stimulation in Lumbar Radiculopathy

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Research Institute of Clinical Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Korea. happijy@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
To investigate diagnostic usefulness of dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials (DSEP) in the evaluation of lumbar radiculopathy using stimulation intensity lower than conventional stimulation intensity. METHOD: Fifty-seven patients with low back pain were studied with DSEP and needle electromyography (EMG). The radiculopathy was diagnosed by lumbar MRI or operative findings. The DSEP study was performed with stimulation intensity of 1.0x, 1.5x, 2.5x sensory threshold, respectively. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of DSEP and needle EMG in the evaluation of L5 radiculopathy.
RESULTS
Radiological and operative findings revealed unilateral herniated disc and L5 root compression in 38 patients (66.7%). Nineteen patients had no significant L5 root compression. The sensitivity and specificity of abnormality were 68.4% and 78.9% in 1.0x sensory threshold stimulation; 71.1%, 78.9% in 1.5x sensory threshold stimulation; and 44.7%, 84.2% in 2.5x sensory threshold stimulation, respectively. Whereas they were 55.2% and 100% in needle EMG.
CONCLUSION
DSEP using low stimulus intensity showed higher sensitivity in the diagnosis of L5 radilculopathy, and DSEP might provide additional diagnostic usefulness in the evaluation of patients with suspected L5 radiculopathy.

Keyword

Dermatomal somatosensory evoked potentials; Lumbar radiculopathy; Stimulation intensity; Needle electromyography

MeSH Terms

Diagnosis
Electromyography
Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory*
Humans
Intervertebral Disc Displacement
Low Back Pain
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Needles
Radiculopathy*
Sensitivity and Specificity
Sensory Thresholds
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