Cerebral oximetry: the standard monitor of the future?

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Purpose of review

There is an increasing interest in the application of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as a monitoring tool in noncardiac surgery. This review summarizes the latest developments and current evidence for the use of NIRS in the noncardiac intraoperative setting.

Recent findings

Unanticipated intraoperative physiological disturbances and a substantial interpatient variability in the limits of cerebral autoregulation, pose our patients at risk for adverse cerebral outcome, if the brain is not monitored specifically. In addition to a means to monitor the brain, NIRS has been shown to allow an estimate of overall organ oxygenation. Preliminary data suggest a relationship between cerebral desaturation and both neurologic and major organ morbidity.


NIRS offers noninvasive monitoring of cerebral and overall organ oxygenation in a wide range of clinical scenarios. There is an increasing evidence that the optimized cerebral oxygenation is associated with improved outcomes in both neurologic and major organ morbidity in a variety of surgical settings.

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