Regional cerebral oxygen saturation in newborn infants in the first 15 min of life after vaginal delivery.
Flash evoked cortical potentials (VEPs) were studied in 33 preterm infants with gestational ages from 27 to 33 weeks. During the first 12 h after birth a visual response was evoked in all infants. Better estimates of the VEP latency and amplitude were obtained by using the values of 3 VEPs recorded at 30 sec intervals. The VEP latency decreased during the first hours of life, which was accounted for by an increase in core temperature; the latency decreased 6 msec/degrees C increase. Changes in amplitude were less influenced by changes in temperature. Both VEP latency and amplitude were inversely related to gestational age, but there was no association between head circumference and latency. The flash intensity could be reduced from 155 cd to 39 cd without any effect on VEP latency or amplitude. Similarly, a variation of background illumination below 200 lux did not cause VEP changes. The VEP was not affected by development of minor subependymal haemorrhages but it was severely attenuated during a short episode of hypoxia. It is suggested that when taking core temperature into account the VEP can be used to determine changes in the cerebral function in preterm infants.