Forty-hertz Midlatency Auditory Evoked Potential Activity Predicts Wakeful Response during Desflurane and Propofol Anesthesia in Volunteers

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BackgroundSuppression of response to command commonly indicates unconsciousness and generally occurs at anesthetic concentrations that suppress or eliminate memory formation. The authors sought midlatency auditory evoked potential indices that successfully differentiated wakeful responsiveness and unconsciousness.MethodsThe authors correlated midlatency auditory evoked potential indices with anesthetic concentrations permitting and suppressing response in 22 volunteers anesthetized twice (5 days apart), with desflurane or propofol. They applied stepwise increases of 0.5 vol% end-tidal desflurane or 0.5 μg/ml target plasma concentration of propofol to achieve sedation levels just bracketing wakeful response. Midlatency auditory evoked potentials were recorded, and wakeful response was tested by asking volunteers to squeeze the investigator's hand. The authors measured latencies and amplitudes from raw waveforms and calculated indices from the frequency spectrum and the joint time-frequency spectrogram. They used prediction probability (PK) to rate midlatency auditory evoked potential indices and concentrations of end-tidal desflurane and arterial propofol for prediction of responsiveness. A PK value of 1.00 means perfect prediction and a PK of 0.50 means a correct prediction 50% of the time (e.g., by chance).ResultsThe ∼40-Hz power of the frequency spectrum predicted wakefulness better than all latency or amplitude indices, although not all differences were statistically significant. The PK values for ∼40-Hz power were 0.96 during both desflurane and propofol anesthesia, whereas the PK values for the best-performing latency and amplitude index, latency of the Nb wave, were 0.86 and 0.88 during desflurane and propofol (P= 0.10 for ∼40-Hz power compared with Nb latency), and for the next highest, latency of the Pb wave, were 0.82 and 0.84 (P< 0.05). The performance of the best combination of amplitude and latency variables was nearly equal to that of ∼40-Hz power. The ∼40-Hz power did not provide a significantly better prediction than anesthetic concentration; the PK values for concentrations of desflurane and propofol were 0.91 and 0.94. Changes of ∼40-Hz power values of 20% (during desflurane) and 16% (during propofol) were associated with a change in probability of nonresponsiveness from 50% to 95%.ConclusionsThe ∼40-Hz power index and the best combination of amplitude and latency variables perform as well as predictors of response to command during desflurane and propofol anesthesia as the steady-state concentrations of these anesthetic agents. Because clinical conditions may limit measurement of steady-state anesthetic concentrations, or comparable estimates of cerebral concentration, the ∼40-Hz power could offer advantages for predicting wakeful reponsiveness.

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