Stimulation induced variability of pulse plethysmography does not discriminate responsiveness to intubation

M. Luginbühl (Corresponding Author), M. Rüfenacht, Ilkka Korhonen, Mark van Gils, S. Jakob, S. Petersen-Felix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hypnotic depth but not haemodynamic response to painful stimulation can be measured with various EEG-based anaesthesia monitors. We evaluated the variation of pulse plethysmography amplitude induced by an electrical tetanic stimulus (PPG variation) as a potential measure for analgesia and predictor of haemodynamic responsiveness during general anaesthesia.

Methods: Ninety-five patients, ASA I or II, were randomly assigned to five groups [Group 1: bispectral index (BIS) (range) 40–50, effect site remifentanil concentration 1 ng ml−1;Group 2: BIS 40–50, remifentanil 2 ng ml−1; Group 3: BIS 40–50, remifentanil 4 ng ml−1; Group 4: BIS 25–35, remifentanil 2 ng ml−1; Group 5: BIS 55–65, remifentanil 2 ng ml−1]. A 60 mA tetanic stimulus was applied for 5 s on the ulnar nerve. From the digitized pulse oximeter wave recorded on a laptop computer, linear and non-linear parameters of PPG variation during the 60 s period after stimulation were computed. The haemodynamic response to subsequent orotracheal intubation was recorded. The PPG variation was compared between groups and between responders and non-responders to intubation (anova). Variables independently predicting the response were determined by logistic regression.

Results: The probability of a response to tracheal intubation was 0.77, 0.47, 0.05, 0.18 and 0.52 in Groups 1–5, respectively (P<0.03). The PPG variability was significantly higher in responders than in non-responders but it did not improve the prediction of the response to tracheal intubation based on BIS level and effect site remifentanil concentration.

Conclusion: Tetanic stimulation induced PPG variation does not reflect the analgesic state in a wide clinical range of surgical anaesthesia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • anaesthesia
  • depth of anaesthesia


Dive into the research topics of 'Stimulation induced variability of pulse plethysmography does not discriminate responsiveness to intubation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this