Correlations between clinical deficits, motor and sensory evoked potentials and radiologic aspects of MRI in malformative syringomyelia. 27 Cases

Emery, E.; Hort-Legrand, C.; Hurth, M.; Metral, S.

Neurophysiologie Clinique 28(1): 56-72


Twenty-seven patients (15 males, 12 females, age range: 16-66 years) were admitted for malformative syringomyelia diagnosed on MRI with measures of syrinx extending and transverse diameter. Posterior tibial somatosensory evoked potentials (PT SEP), median (M SEP), trigeminal (V3 SEP), brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BEAP), cortical and cervical motor evoked potentials (MEP) were correlated with clinical and radiological findings. SEP abnormalities were not correlated with the duration of symptoms. PT SEP proved to be more sensitive than M SEP. MEP abnormalities were very frequent (87% of the cases), even without clinical motor deficits. Trigeminal SEP were more sensitive than BEAP which were not related to the presence of associated cranio-vertebral abnormalities. We found no significative relationship between clinical and radiological results. Moreover, there was a positive relationship between electrophysiological and radiological results: abnormal trigeminal SEP were detected in 85% of the patients with high cervical syringomyelia. In all cases, trigeminal SEP and MEP should be done in association with M and PT SEP as both of them detect subclinical evidence of spinal cord dysfunction in syringomyelia.