Auditory Event-Related Potentials, Bispectral Index, and Entropy for the Discrimination of Different Levels of Sedation in Intensive Care Unit Patients

Matthias Haenggi, Heidi Yppärilä-Wolters, Sarah Buerki, Rebekka Schlauri, Ilkka Korhonen, Jukka Takala, Stephan M. Jakob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Sedation protocols, including the use of sedation scales and regular sedation stops, help to reduce the length of mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit stay. Because clinical assessment of depth of sedation is labor-intensive, performed only intermittently, and interferes with sedation and sleep, processed electrophysiological signals from the brain have gained interest as surrogates. We hypothesized that auditory event-related potentials (ERPs), Bispectral Index® (BIS), and Entropy® can discriminate among clinically relevant sedation levels.
METHODS: We studied 10 patients after elective thoracic or abdominal surgery with general anesthesia. Electroencephalogram, BIS, state entropy (SE), response entropy (RE), and ERPs were recorded immediately after surgery in the intensive care unit at Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS) scores of −5 (very deep sedation), −4 (deep sedation), −3 to −1 (moderate sedation), and 0 (awake) during decreasing target-controlled sedation with propofol and remifentanil. Reference measurements for baseline levels were performed before or several days after the operation.
RESULTS: At baseline, RASS −5, RASS −4, RASS −3 to −1, and RASS 0, BIS was 94 [4] (median, IQR), 47 [15], 68 [9], 75 [10], and 88 [6]; SE was 87 [3], 46 [10], 60 [22], 74 [21], and 87 [5]; and RE was 97 [4], 48 [9], 71 [25], 81 [18], and 96 [3], respectively (all P < 0.05, Friedman Test). Both BIS and Entropy had high variabilities. When ERP N100 amplitudes were considered alone, ERPs did not differ significantly among sedation levels. Nevertheless, discriminant ERP analysis including two parameters of principal component analysis revealed a prediction probability PK value of 0.89 for differentiating deep sedation, moderate sedation, and awake state. The corresponding PK for RE, SE, and BIS was 0.88, 0.89, and 0.85, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Neither ERPs nor BIS or Entropy can replace clinical sedation assessment with standard scoring systems. Discrimination among very deep, deep to moderate, and no sedation after general anesthesia can be provided by ERPs and processed electroencephalograms, with similar PKs. The high inter- and intraindividual variability of Entropy and BIS precludes defining a target range of values to predict the sedation level in critically ill patients using these parameters. The variability of ERPs is unknown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-816
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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