• Curr Opin Anaesthesiol · Oct 2020


    Double standard: why electrocardiogram is standard care while electroencephalogram is not?

    Should the EEG and it'a processed derivatives be elevated to routine standard of care monitoring during general anaesthesia?

    • Yun Li, Christian Bohringer, and Hong Liu.
    • Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, The Second Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China.
    • Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2020 Oct 1; 33 (5): 626-632.

    Purpose Of ReviewMajor adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCE) significantly affect the surgical outcomes. Electrocardiogram (ECG) has been a standard intraoperative monitor for 30 years. Electroencephalogram (EEG) can provide valuable information about the anesthetized state and guide anesthesia management during surgery. Whether EEG should be a standard intraoperative monitor is discussed in this review.Recent FindingsDeep anesthesia has been associated with postoperative delirium, especially in elderly patients. Intraoperative EEG monitoring has been demonstrated to reduce total anesthesia drug use during general anesthesia and postoperative delirium.SummaryUnlike ECG monitoring, the EEG under general anesthesia has not been designated as a standard monitor by anesthesiologist societies around the world. The processed EEG technology has been commercially available for more than 25 years and EEG technology has significantly facilitated its intraoperative use. It is time to consider EEG as a standard anesthesia monitor during surgery.

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    Should the EEG and it'a processed derivatives be elevated to routine standard of care monitoring during general anaesthesia?

    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley

    A compelling argument that the EEG and it's derivative monitors should be 'standard of care' during anaesthesia, contrasting this with the ECG, arguably a less useful, actionable or meaningful monitor, yet has been widely considered a routine monitor for three decades.

    The authors' main thesis is that:

    • Intraoperative EEG accurately monitors anaesthetic depth.
    • Using EEG to guide intraoperative depth may reduce both anaesthetic use and postoperative delirium.
    • Reducing drug exposure and depth of anaesthesia probably has significant patient and societal benefits.
    • All anaesthetists and anesthesiologists should be familiar with interpreting the raw EEG in the context of anaesthesia.


    • While postoperative delirium is common in the over 65y age group (15-20%) and is associated with adverse outcomes, it is less clear that avoiding excessive depth reliably reduces postoperative delirium (some studies say yes, others...)
    • Additionally, because post-op delirium is often used as (or at least inadvertently becomes) a surrogate marker for a range of adverse post-op events, then it follows that EEG monitoring should also be associated with reducing these events. This has not yet been shown.
    Daniel Jolley  Daniel Jolley
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