A Novel Automated Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) Monitoring Device for Detection of Intraoperative Peripheral Nerve Injury in Cardiac Surgery: A Clinical Feasibility Study.

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2016 Nov 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Chui JMurkin JMTurkstra T, McKenzie N, Guo L, Quantz M. 



Peripheral nerve injury (PNI) is a common and potentially devastating complication in cardiac surgery. Somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring is one of the modalities for PNI; however, its application is limited by complicated logistics. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of using a novel, automated SSEP device (EPAD; SafeOp Surgical, Hunt Valley, MD) for detection of intraoperative PNI during cardiac surgery.


After Ethics Board approval and written consent, study participants were monitored using the EPAD automated SSEP device during cardiac surgery. All patients with prolonged and abnormal SSEP changes were evaluated postoperatively, and if they were symptomatic, they were referred for further nerve conduction and electromyographic assessment.


Of the 43 patients who consented to study inclusion, 33 were monitored successfully. With increasing clinical experience the authors encountered minimal technical issues, and satisfactory signals were obtained in most patients. Abnormal SSEP signal changes, which were encountered in 5 (15.2%) patients, were interpreted as impending PNI; 3 patients experienced prolonged signal changes (>1 h), and 2 (6.1%) of these developed symptomatic peripheral neuropathy that was confirmed with nerve conduction studies.


The EPAD automated SSEP device is a viable option for detecting PNI during cardiac surgery. A high incidence of intraoperative peripheral nerve compromise and a 6.1% incidence of postoperative peripheral neuropathy were observed. This study reports the clinical feasibility of using the EPAD automated SSEP device; additional studies are required to evaluate the diagnostic test accuracy and the outcome benefit of routine SSEP monitoring in cardiac surgical patients. 

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