Chapter

Visual Evoked Potentials

Jonathan L. Carter

in Clinical Neurophysiology

Third edition

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195385113
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322770 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195385113.003.0022

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Visual Evoked Potentials

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The role of VEPs in evaluating patients with neurologic disease has evolved in an era of advanced neuroimaging techniques. MRI is clearly superior in sensitivity and specificity to VEPs in detecting retrochiasmatic lesions. However, in patients with lesions involving the optic nerve and anterior chiasm, VEPs have several important advantages: (1) VEPs are objective and reproducible and may demonstrate a functional abnormality that is not evident on physical examination or with neuroimaging studies; (2) VEP abnormalities may persist over time even when there is clinical resolution of visual symptoms; (3) VEPs may be a more reliable indicator of disease than MRI (MRI may reveal nonspecific abnormalities that do not represent a pathologic process, such as nonspecific white matter signal changes in the cerebral hemispheres); (4) VEPs may be more sensitive than MRI for detecting abnormalities in optic nerves; and (5) VEP studies are less expensive than MRI studies and can be used in situations where MRI studies are contraindicated (i.e., pacemakers, aneurysm clips, etc).

Chapter.  4848 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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