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Paediatr Anaesth. 2005 Apr;15(4):266-74.

Sevoflurane and epileptiform EEG changes.

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Service d'Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hopital d'enfants Armand Trousseau, Assistance-Publique, Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris VI University, Paris, France.


Sevoflurane has become the volatile agent of choice for inhalation induction of anesthesia. Hemodynamic stability and lack of respiratory irritation have justified its rapid extension to pediatric inhalation induction. The epileptogenic potential of sevoflurane has been suspected since the first case reports of abnormal movements in children without a history of epilepsy. The objectives of this short review are to: (i) analyze clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) features supporting epileptogenic activity of sevoflurane, (ii) identify factors which may modulate that activity, and (iii) suggest guidelines of clinical practice to limit expression of this epileptiform phenomenon, which has thus far unknown morbidity. The use of sevoflurane may be associated with cortical epileptiform EEG signs, usually without clinical manifestation. No lasting neurological or EEG sequelae have been described thus far, and the potential morbidity of this epileptogenic effect is unknown. The use of sevoflurane in children, with its remarkable cardiovascular profile, should include a number of precautions. Among them, the limitation of the depth of anesthesia is essential. The wide use of cerebral function monitoring (the most simple being the EEG), may permit optimization of sevoflurane dose and avoidance of burst suppression and major epileptiform signs in fragile subjects, notably the very young and the very old.

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