Propofol Blood Concentration and the Bispectral Index Predict Suppression of Learning During Propofol/Epidural Anesthesia in Volunteers

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Propofol is often used for sedation during regional anesthesia.We tested the hypothesis that propofol blood concentration, the Bispectral Index and the 95% spectral edge frequency predict suppression of learning during propofol/epidural anesthesia in volunteers. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that the Bispectral Index is linearly related to propofol blood concentration. Fourteen healthy, male volunteers were studied on three randomly ordered days: no propofol, target propofol blood concentration 1 micro gram/mL, and target propofol blood concentration 2 micro gram/mL. Each day, epidural anesthesia (approximate equals T11 level) was induced using 2% 2-chloroprocaine. Propofol was infused by a computer-controlled pump, and propofol concentration measured in central venous blood. We administered a Trivial Pursuit Registered Trademark-type question task on all 3 days. The electroen-cephalogram was monitored continuously (Fp1, Fp2; reference, Cz; ground, mastoid). Propofol caused concentration-related impairment of learning. The propofol blood concentration suppressing learning by 50% was 0.66 +/- 0.1 micro gram/mL. The Bispectral Index value when learning was suppressed by 50% was 91 +/- 1. In contrast, the 95% spectral edge frequency did not correlate well with learning. The Bispectral Index decreased linearly as propofol blood concentration increased (Bispectral Index = -7.4 centered dot [propofol] + 90; r2 = 0.47, n = 278). There was no significant correlation between the 95% spectral edge frequency and propofol concentration. In order to suppress learning, propofol blood concentrations reported to produce amnesia may be targeted. Alternatively, the Bispectral Index may be used to predict anesthetic effect during propofol sedation.(Anesth Analg 1995;81:1269-74)

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