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May 2022

Intraoperative awareness and auditory evoked potentials

Author(s): Daunderer, M., Klasing, S., Conzen, P., Finsterer, U., Peter, K.

Journal/Book: Anaesthesist. 1996; 45: 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10010. Springer Verlag. S46-S51.

Abstract: Midlatency auditory evoked potentials (MLAEP) are suppressed dose-dependently during anaesthesia with a variety of general anaesthetics. Therefore, MLAEP have been proposed to measure depth of anaesthesia and to indicate intraoperative awareness. Several studies give evidence of a close relationship between MLAEP and motor signs of wakefulness, intraoperative awareness, and explicit and implicit memory functions during general anaesthesia. Summarising these data, one may conclude that there is a close hierarchical relation between cognitive function, memory and wakefulness during anaesthesia, and MLAEP latencies. A short Nb latency below 45 ms is consistent with conscious awareness and unimpaired memory function with explicit recall and adequate response to commands. When Nb latency increases to 45-50 ms, it may be associated with conscious awareness. Patients still respond to commands, but memory formation is impaired and explicit recall is lost. A further increase of Nb latencies seems to be consistent with unconscious awareness, characterised by implicit memory of intraoperative events; 60 ms seems to be the threshold value for motor signs of wakefulness during anaesthesia. With a further increase of MLAEP latency during anaesthesia, conscious awareness and memory formation, explicit and implicit recall, response to commands, and spontaneous purposeful movements during anaesthesia are blocked. The new volatile anaesthetic sevoflurane leads to a dose-dependent increase in MLAEP peak latencies and a decrease in MLAEP amplitudes. At about 1.5 vol.% end-expiratory sevoflurane concentration, MLAEP are significantly suppressed and Nb latency is in the range of 68-80 ms. Therefore, from the present data and those from the literature, one may expect that sevoflurane at concentrations greater than 1,5 vol.% for general anaesthesia would be able to suppress awareness phenomena such as purposeful movements, auditory perception, intraoperative wakefulness and awareness, memory formation, and explicit and implicit recall of intraoperative events.

Note: Article D Schwender, Univ Munich, Klinikum Grosshadern, Inst Anasthesiol, Marchioninistr 15, D-81377 Munich, Germany

Keyword(s): anaesthesia, general, awareness; anaesthetics, volatile anaesthetics, sevoflurane; brain, auditory evoked potentials; monitoring, auditory evoked potentials; GENERAL-ANESTHESIA; CONVERSATION; ISOFLURANE; MEMORY


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