Normative ranges and specificity of the multifocal VEP

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Abstract

Purpose:

To describe a normative database for the multifocal VEP (mfVEP) and to evaluate specificity for a range of cluster criteria.

Methods:

One hundred persons (62 females and 38 males) with normal visual fields and ranging in age from 21.6 to 92.4 years participated in this study. Self-reported race in 80 of these 100 persons was `White or Caucasian,' eight were `Black or African-American,' eight were `Asian,' and four were `Hispanic or Latino.' Pattern-reversal mfVEPs were obtained using a dartboard stimulus pattern in VERISTM and two 8-min runs per eye were averaged. A bootstrap technique was used to estimate the normal range of mfVEP response signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and inter-ocular amplitude ratio at each location. Specificity (1 - false alarm rate) was evaluated for a range of cluster criteria, whereby the number and probability level of the points defining a cluster were varied.

Results:

There was no overall effect of age on SNR (r2=0.16, p=0.22) nor was the interaction between age and location significant (F=0.83, p=0.82, ANOVA). The location with the largest age effect had an r2 of only 0.13. There was a small but significant effect of sex (t=2.1, p=0.04) such that SNR was slightly (11) larger in females than males, but there was no significant interaction between sex and age (t=0.82, p=0.41). There was a slight trend toward higher SNR in the Asian group and lower SNR in the African-American group, but the overall effect of race was not significant (F=1.99, p=0.12). Specificity depended on the number and probability level of the points defining a cluster. Specificity did not vary by age group in a simple monotonic manner. False positive rates were slightly higher in females than males, and slightly higher in the African-American group as compared with the Asian group.

Conclusions:

Excellent specificity can be achieved for the mfVEP by using particular cluster criteria for monocular and inter-ocular tests. The effects of age, sex, and race were all very small and only the effect of sex was statistically significant. This normative database can be used for analyses of mfVEP results from individual patients with little risk that demographic factors such as age and sex will confound diagnostic accuracy.

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