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Brainstem auditory evoked potentials
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ICD-9-CM 794.09
MedlinePlus 003926
eMedicine 1137451

In electrophysiology, brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) are very small electrical voltage potentials which are recorded in response to an auditory stimulus from electrodes placed on the scalp. They reflect neuronal activity in the auditory nerve, cochlear nucleus, superior olive, and inferior colliculus of the brainstem. They typically have a response latency of no more than six milliseconds with an amplitude of approximately one millivolt.

Due to their small amplitude, 500 or more repetitions of the auditory stimulus are required in order to average out the random background electrical activity. Although it is possible to obtain a BAEP to a pure tone stimulus in the hearing range a more effective auditory stimulus contains a range of frequencies in the form of a short sharp click.

Long and Allen[1] reported the abnormal BAEPs in an alcoholic woman who recovered from Ondine's curse. These investigators hypothesized that their patient's brainstem was poisoned, but not destroyed, by her chronic alcoholism.


  1. Long, KJ (1984 Oct). Abnormal brain-stem auditory evoked potentials following Ondine's curse. Archives of neurology 41 (10): 1109–10.

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