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Anesthesiology:
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An Unusual Event with the Bispectral Index® Monitoring System

Manberg, Paul J. Ph.D.

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In Reply:—

We thank Dr. Hachwa et al. for providing this illustrative Letter to the Editor concerning a pressure groove caused by unusual twisting of the BIS® Sensor (Aspect Medical Systems, Newton, MA). The length of the tab portion of the sensor was designed specifically to minimize the possibility of pressure reactions to the larger cable connector, but as shown in this case, twisting of a sensor that is placed low across the forehead can result in a mechanical pressure reaction. Aspect recommends that clinicians apply the BIS® Sensor so that it lies flat on the surface of skin in the correct placement position. Dr. Hachwa’s suggestion to use gauze padding may be appropriate in some situations; however, we do not believe it is routinely required. Other practitioners have stabilized this portion of the BIS® Sensor with tape to prevent inadvertent twisting. Although Dr. Hachwa speculates that the design characteristics of the BIS® Sensor are responsible for this observation, it is important to bear in mind that excessive pressure on any monitoring element (e.g., electrocardiogram cables, pulmonary artery catheter) also could produce similar observed grooves. Nevertheless, we believe that clinicians should remain vigilant to intraoperative conditions that may cause a change in BIS® Sensor positioning resulting in sustained pressure on one skin location. This may be especially relevant in patients in a prone position.
Paul J. Manberg, Ph.D.
Aspect Medical Systems, Inc., Newton, Massachusetts. pmanberg@aspectms.com

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