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Br J Anaesth. 2000 Jan;84(1):33-7.

Increasing isoflurane concentration may cause paradoxical increases in the EEG bispectral index in surgical patients.

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  • 1Klinik für Anaesthesiologie, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany.


We have studied the effects of increases in isoflurane concentration on the EEG bispectral index (BIS) in 70 patients anaesthetized with isoflurane-nitrous oxide-sufentanil for major abdominal surgery. During surgery, baseline BIS was recorded at 0.8% end-tidal isoflurane with nitrous oxide in oxygen (FIO2 0.35). After this, end-tidal isoflurane was increased to 1.6% for 15 min and decreased subsequently to 0.8% for 20 min to assess recovery. In 20 patients, BIS decreased from a mean value of 40 (SD 9) during baseline to 25 (10) at 1.6% isoflurane. In contrast, BIS did not change in 23 patients and increased in 27 patients from 35 (6) to 46 (8) as isoflurane was increased to 1.6%. In all patients, BIS recovered to baseline values at 0.8% isoflurane. The changes in BIS with increasing isoflurane concentration were not related to drugs or differences in physiological variables, which did not differ between groups. Patients with a decrease in BIS were significantly younger (38 (range 18-68) yr) than those with unchanged (55 (26-70) yr) or increased (60 (40-70) yr) BIS values (P < 0.001). It is possible that the paradoxical increase in BIS is related to continuous pre-burst EEG patterns consisting of high-frequency activity. This suggests that the use of BIS as a guide for isoflurane administration may be misleading in some patients undergoing surgical procedures.

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