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Evoked Potential Testing

Your doctor may order evoked potential tests to check the signals your brain and spinal cord (parts of your nervous system) receive from other parts of your body. These tests are also used to check for vision, hearing and sensory or motore problems.

What is evoked potential testing?

There are three types of evoked potential tests: visual, brainstem auditory, and somatosensory. Your doctor may order any or all of these tests to check the signals your brain and spinal cord receive from other parts of your body. The signals are responses to what you see, hear, or feel during the tests. While you are being tested, the technologist will look at wavy lines (waveforms) on a screen or on paper. These lines show the activity in your brain and other parts of your body. These waveforms will be studied to help determine your test results and can help your doctor diagnose and treat you. These tests are also used during surgery to assist the surgeon in safely performing some operations.

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The visual evoked potential test may be used to check for vision or visual processing problems.

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The brainstem auditory evoked potential test may be used to assess your hearing and auditory processing.

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The somatosensory evoked potential test may be used to check the integrity of the nerve pathways between the spinal cord and brain.

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Online Medical Reviewer: Bazarian, Jeffrey, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Fowler, Susan B, PhD, RN, CNRN, FAHA
Date Last Reviewed: 10/6/2012
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