Brain stem–evoked response in neonates

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      Twenty-one premature infants of less than 36 weeks’ gestational age at the time of initial study were tested sequentially with auditory BSER and the results obtained were compared to those in 30 normal term infants and 30 normal adults. The latency of the wave I response decreases progressively from a mean of 2.75±0.68 msec at 31 weeks to 1.53±0.14 msec in adults; wave V latency decreases from a mean of 8.77±0.38 msec at 31 weeks to 5.56±0.20 msec in adults. There is a differential maturation between peripheral conduction represented by wave I latency as compared to central conduction represented by the wave I to wave V latency period. The presence of waves II, IV, and combined IV and V varies as a function of age when testing parameters are constant. The BSER to auditory stimuli is a feasible testing method for objectively evaluating neonatal nervous system function.
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