Changes in electrical perceptual threshold in the first 6 months following spinal cord injury.


OBJECTIVES To investigate the use of electrical perceptual threshold (EPT) testing to follow the natural history of sensory progression after complete and incomplete acute spinal cord injury (SCI) and to compare EPT changes with the American Spinal Injuries Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS). STUDY DESIGN Prospective descriptive study. METHODS ASIA examination and EPT testing was performed on 17 patients (7 AIS A, 10 AIS B-D), within 1, 3, and 6 months after acute SCI. EPT assessment was carried out bilaterally at ASIA sensory points from 2 levels above the neurological level to all levels below, including the sacral segments. Comparisons of EPT values above, at, and below the SCI were made at the three time points as well as comparisons of EPT data to ASIA assessment. RESULTS There was poor agreement between lowest normal level on EPT and ASIA assessment. Over time, EPTs tended to deteriorate above and at the ASIA level in AIS A patients with modest changes below the neurological level of injury (NLI), mainly where EPTs correlated with the zone of partial preservation. Sacral sparing was detected in one patient with EPT testing, but not with ASIA assessment. AIS B-D patients showed improvement at the ASIA level and extensive changes, both improvement and deterioration, below the NLI. CONCLUSION EPT testing has sufficient sensitivity to detect subclinical changes in sensory function as early as the first month post-SCI, which is not apparent in ASIA examination. In particular, the testing is able to show abnormalities at and around the injury site for both complete and incomplete SCI. In addition, EPT allows for the detection and monitoring of alterations, both improvements and deterioration, in the abnormal range of sensation.

DOI: 10.1179/2045772311Y.0000000036

Cite this paper

@article{Lauschke2011ChangesIE, title={Changes in electrical perceptual threshold in the first 6 months following spinal cord injury.}, author={Jenny Luise Lauschke and Grace Woon Su Leong and Sue B Rutkowski and Phil M E Waite}, journal={The journal of spinal cord medicine}, year={2011}, volume={34 5}, pages={473-81} }