To characterize the amplitude growth functions of the electrically evoked compound action potential (ECAP) in pediatric subjects implanted with the Clarion HiFocus electrode array with respect to electrode position and the presence or absence of a Silastic positioner. Electrophysiologic growth function data are compared with HiResolution (HiRes) psychophysical programming levels.
ECAP growth functions were measured for all electrodes along the implant’s array in 16 pediatric subjects. Nine of the patients were implanted with a Silastic positioner, whereas seven had no positioner. ECAP thresholds and growth function slopes were calculated. Fifteen of the 16 patients had psychophysical threshold and maximum comfort levels available. Programming levels and ECAP thresholds were compared within and among the subjects.
ECAP thresholds showed variability among patients, ranging from 178 to 920 nA at 32 μsec pulse width. ECAP thresholds did not depend on electrode position along the cochlea but were lower in the presence of the Silastic positioner (p < 0.001). Thresholds determined with the masker-probe versus the alternating polarity paradigms revealed moderate (r = 0.76) correlation. Growth function slopes also showed considerable variation among patients. Unlike thresholds, slopes decreased from apical to basal cochlear locations (p < 0.001) but showed no difference between the absence and presence of the positioner. Programming levels in HiRes were correlated with ECAP threshold levels. When ECAP thresholds were adjusted for each patient by the difference between M level and ECAP threshold at electrode 9, however, overall correlation between the two measurements was excellent (r = 0.98, N = 224).
In pediatric subjects with the Clarion HiFocus electrode, ECAP growth function thresholds appear to decrease with the presence of the Silastic positioner but are unaffected by electrode position along the array. Growth function slope, however, depends on electrode position along the array but not on the presence of the positioner. ECAP programming levels can reliably predict stimulus intensities within the patients’ dynamic ranges, but considerable variability is seen between ECAP thresholds and HiRes programming levels.