Diagnostic Value of Somatosensory Evoked Potential Changes During Carotid Endarterectomy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Perioperative stroke is a persistent complication of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis (CS).


To evaluate whether changes in somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) during CEA are diagnostic of perioperative stroke in patients with symptomatic CS.


We searched PubMed and the World Science Database for reference lists of retrieved studies and/or experiments on SSEP use in postoperative outcomes following CEA in patients with symptomatic CS from January 1, 1950, through January 1, 2013. We independently screened all titles and abstracts to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria and extracted relevant articles in a uniform manner. Inclusion criteria included randomized clinical trials, prospective studies, or retrospective cohort reviews; population of symptomatic CS; use of intraoperative SSEP monitoring during CEA; immediate postoperative assessment and/or as long as a 3-month follow-up; a total sample size of 50 or more patients; studies with adult humans 18 years or older; and studies published in English.


Whether intraoperative SSEP changes were diagnostic of perioperative stroke indicated by postoperative neurological examination.


Four-hundred sixty-four articles were retrieved, and 15 prospective and retrospective cohort studies were included in the data analysis. A 4557-patient cohort composed the total sample population for all the studies, 3899 of whom had symptomatic CS. A change in SSEP exhibited a strong pooled mean specificity of 91% (95% CI, 86–94) but a weaker pooled mean sensitivity of 58% (95% CI, 49–68). A pooled diagnostic odds ratio for individual studies of patients with neurological deficit with changes in SSEPs was 14.39 (95% CI, 8.34–24.82), indicating that the odds of observing an SSEP change among those with neurologic deficits were 14 times higher than in individuals without neurologic deficit.


Intraoperative SSEP is a highly specific test in predicting neurological outcome following CEA. Patients with perioperative neurological deficits are 14 times more likely to have had changes in SSEPs during the procedure. The use of SSEPs to design prevention strategies is valuable in reducing perioperative cerebral infarctions during CEA.

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