Auditory brain-stem responses in hydrocephalic patients

Nina Kraus*, Özcan Özdamar, Peter T. Heydemann, Laszlo Stein, Nancy L. Reed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Auditory brain-stem response (ABR) was measured in 40 patients (80 ears) with confirmed hydrocephalus. Eighty-eight percent of these patients showed some form of ABR abnormality. Responses indicative of brain-stem dysfunction consisted of prolonged I-V interwave latency (38%), reduced V/I amplitude ratio (33%), and abnormalities in wave-shape of components III (27%) and V (53%). In addition, 70% of the patients had elevated ABR thresholds; 45% had responses in excess of 20 dB HL and the remaining 25% had no ABR activity. The etiology of the hydrocephalus, head circumference and brain-stem symptoms were not associated with particular ABR abnormalities. Communicating hydrocephalus correlated significantly with both prolonged I-V conduction time and absence of ABR activity, compared with non-communicating hydrocephalus. Four of the 9 patients retested showed ABR improvement on follow-up; one patient showed deterioration. The results were compared to our prior studies of ABR in 60 post-meningitic patients and in 100 severely neurologically impaired institutionalized children in whom the incidence of intrinsic brain-stem abnormalities was one-third and two-thirds that of the hydrocephalic group, respectively. The results of this study suggest that ABR can be used to document clinically unsuspected brain-stem pathology that may accompany hydrocephalus. Auditory brain-stem dysfunction is likely to complicate the assessment of hearing sensitivity in hydrocephalic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • General Neuroscience


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