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Simultaneous Recording of Pattern Electroretinography and Visual Evoked Potentials in Multiple Sclerosis:  A Method to Separate Demyelination From Axonal Damage to the Optic Nerve

Gastone G. Celesia, MD; David Kaufman, DO; Sandra B. Cone, MS
Arch Neurol. 1986;43(12):1247-1252. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520120031012.
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• Pattern electroretinograms (P-ERGs) and visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded in 35 patients with multiple sclerosis and in 35 age-matched normal subjects. Four patterns of abnormalities were noted in the group with multiple sclerosis. The most frequent abnormality consisted of the following: normal P-ERG, delayed P100, and prolonged interpeak interval between the b-wave of the P-ERG and P100 (retinocortical time). This pattern indicates demyelination of the optic nerve. A second pattern consisted of absent P-ERG and absent VEP. This pattern was associated with optic atrophy and/or central scotoma, indicating severe optic nerve axonopathy with retrograde degeneration of ganglion cells. A third pattern consisted of normal P-ERG and absent VEP, suggesting a total block of transmission at the optic nerve. A fourth pattern consisted of present but low-amplitude P-ERG, delayed VEP, and prolonged retinocortical time, indicating a demyelinating process with partial axonal involvement. The concomitant use of P-ERG and VEP results in a better classification of the type and severity of dysfunction affecting the optic nerve. The prognostic value of the four patterns for recovery of visual function is discussed.

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