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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
ANESTHESIA SMART 2004 - Milan, May 12-14, 2004
Minerva Anestesiologica 2004 May;70(5):293-7
Auditory evoked potentials
De Cosmo G., Aceto P., Clemente A., Congedo E.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) are an electrical manifestation of the brain response to an auditory stimulus. Mid-latency auditory evoked potentials (MLAEPs) and the coherent frequency of the AEP are the most promising for monitoring depth of anaesthesia. MLAEPs show graded changes with increasing anaesthetic concentration over the clinical concentration range. The latencies of Pa and Nb lengthen and their amplitudes reduce. These changes in features of waveform are similar with both inhaled and intravenous anaesthetics. Changes in latency of Pa and Nb waves are highly correlated to a transition from awake to loss of consciousness. MLAEPs recording may also provide information about cerebral processing of the auditory input, probably because it reflects activity in the temporal lobe/primary cortex, sites involved in sounds elaboration and in a complex mechanism of implicit (non declarative) memory processing. The coherent frequency has found to be disrupted by the anaesthetics as well as to be implicated in attentional mechanism. These results support the concept that the AEPs reflects the balance between the arousal effects of surgical stimulation and the depressant effects of anaesthetics. However, AEPs aren’t a perfect measure of anaesthesia depth. They can’t predict patients movements during surgery and the signal may be affected by muscle artefacts, diathermy and other electrical operating theatre interferences. In conclusion, once reliability of the AEPs recording became proved and the signal acquisition improved it is likely to became a routine feature of clinical anaesthetic practice.