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Somatosensory evoked potentials aid prediction after hypoxic–ischaemic brain injury


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, basic life support and early defibrillation are leading to more survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest reaching hospital. Once stabilised on an intensive care unit, it can be difficult to predict the neurological outcome using clinical criteria alone, particularly with modern management using sedation, neuromuscular blockade and hypothermia. If we are to prevent ongoing futile life support, it is important to try to identify the majority of patients who, despite best efforts, will not make a meaningful recovery. Somatosensory evoked potentials are widely available electrophysiological tests that can provide an objective biomarker of a poor neurological outcome and assist in predicting the prognosis.

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  • Editors' commentary
    Phil Smith Geraint N Fuller