Pilot study of closed-loop anaesthesia for liver transplantation

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Automated titration of propofol and remifentanil guided by the bispectral index (BIS) has been used for numerous surgical procedures. Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) uniquely combines major changes in circulating volume, an anhepatic phase, and ischaemia–reperfusion syndrome. We assessed the behaviour of this automated controller during OLT.


Adult patients undergoing OLT were included in this pilot study. Consumption of propofol and remifentanil was calculated for each surgery period (dissection, anhepatic, and liver reperfusion phases). Arterial blood samples were collected at several time points to allow comparison of actual with calculated propofol and remifentanil concentrations. Data are presented as median [25th and 75th percentiles] or percentage (95% confidence interval).


Thirteen patients were studied. System performance, defined as the percentage of time with BIS in the range 40-60, was 88% (86-94) of the total duration of anaesthesia. Propofol requirement was decreased during the anhepatic phase compared with the dissection phase (2.9 [1.9-5.0] mg kg−1 h−1 and 4.6 [3.5-8.1] mg kg−1 h−1; P<0.03) while remifentanil consumption was unchanged (0.11 [0.09-0.19] µg kg- 1 min−1). Bland-Altman analysis showed a weak concordance for propofol (bias of 0.7 µg ml−1 and limits of agreement of −2.2 to +3.7 µg ml−1) and remifentanil (bias of 1.3 ng ml−1 and limits of agreement −4.3 to +6.8 ng ml−1). No adverse events were reported during anaesthesia.


This pilot study indicates that automated titration of propofol and remifentanil guided by the BIS is feasible during OLT.

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