Age-related changes in EEG power spectra in infants during sevoflurane wash-out

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Background.Few electroencephalography (EEG) data are available in anaesthetized infants. This study aimed to identify EEG characteristics that might warn of awakening (AW) from sevoflurane anaesthesia in infants.Methods.Twenty intubated infants [aged 39-77 weeks post-menstrual age (PMA)] were studied after surgery during sevoflurane wash-out. EEG was recorded at the end of surgery and throughout emergence. Changes in EEG time and frequency domains were described.Results.At the end of surgery, mean end-tidal sevoflurane concentration was 2.3% (range 1.5-3.5) before wash-out and reduced to 0.3% (0.1-0.6) when AW began. On AW, movement artifacts made signals difficult to interpret. Before awakening, most power was within frequencies ≤4 Hz, but trends over time were variable. Summated power in frequencies between 20 and 70 Hz was almost always <5 μV2. During anaesthesia, there were two common power spectra: infants >52 weeks PMA had obvious summated power in the frequency range 5-20 Hz (P5-20 Hz) (mean 308, median 320, range 110-542 μV2), which decreased before awakening began [mean decrease 252 μV2 (95% CI 153-351)], whereas younger infants had low P5-20 Hz throughout. P5-20 Hz during anaesthesia increased with age; power in this frequency band of ∼100 μV2 separated infants younger and older than 52 weeks PMA.Conclusions.During sevoflurane wash-out, decreasing P5-20 Hz might warn of impending AW in infants >3 months old, but not in younger infants.

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