Depth-of-anesthesia monitoring is often utilized for patients receiving xenon anesthesia. Processed electroencephalogram (EEG) depth-of-anesthesia monitoring relies to a significant extent on frequency domain analysis of the frontal EEG, and there is evidence that the spectral features observed under anesthesia vary significantly between anesthetic agents. The spectral features of the EEG during xenon anesthesia for a surgical procedure have not previously been described.
Twenty-four participants scheduled for general anesthesia for lithotripsy were randomized to receive either xenon anesthesia or sevoflurane anesthesia. Frontal EEG recordings were obtained from each participant via the Brain Anesthesia Response Monitor (BARM). Twenty-two EEG recordings were suitable for analysis: 11 in participants who received sevoflurane and 11 in participants who received xenon. Spectrograms for the duration of the anesthetic episode were produced for each participant. Group-level spectral analysis was calculated for two 30-second EEG epochs: one recorded at awake baseline and the other during maintenance anesthesia. A linear mixed-effects model was utilized to compare the changes in 5 frequency bands from baseline to maintenance between the 2 groups.
The spectrograms of sevoflurane participants illustrate an increase in frontal delta (0.5–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), and alpha (8–13 Hz) band power during maintenance anesthesia. In contrast, spectrograms of the xenon participants did not illustrate an increase in alpha power. The results of the linear mixed-effects model indicate that both agents were associated with a significant increase in delta power from baseline to maintenance. There was no significant difference in the magnitude of this increase observed between the agents. In contrast, sevoflurane anesthesia was associated with significantly greater absolute power in the theta, alpha, and beta (13–30 Hz) bands when compared to xenon. In terms of relative power, xenon was associated with a significant increase in delta power compared to sevoflurane, while sevoflurane was associated with greater increases in relative theta, alpha, and beta power.
Both xenon anesthesia and sevoflurane anesthesia were associated with significant increases in delta power. Sevoflurane anesthesia was also associated with increases in theta, alpha, and beta power, while xenon anesthesia was associated with greater consolidation of power in the delta band. Xenon anesthesia and sevoflurane anesthesia are associated with distinct spectral features. These findings suggest that appropriate depth-of-anesthesia monitoring may require the development of agent-specific spectral measures of unconsciousness.