Share this article on:

BIS-guided Anesthesia Decreases Postoperative Delirium and Cognitive Decline

Chan, Matthew T.V. MBBS, FANZCA*; Cheng, Benny C.P. MBBS, FHKCA; Lee, Tatia M.C. PhD; Gin, Tony MD, FRCA, FANZCA*the CODA Trial Group

Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology: January 2013 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 33–42
doi: 10.1097/ANA.0b013e3182712fba
Clinical Investigations

Background: Previous clinical trials and animal experiments have suggested that long-lasting neurotoxicity of general anesthetics may lead to postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD). Brain function monitoring such as the bispectral index (BIS) facilitates anesthetic titration and has been shown to reduce anesthetic exposure. In a randomized controlled trial, we tested the effect of BIS monitoring on POCD in 921 elderly patients undergoing major noncardiac surgery.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either BIS-guided anesthesia or routine care. The BIS group had anesthesia adjusted to maintain a BIS value between 40 and 60 during maintenance of anesthesia. Routine care group had BIS measured but not revealed to attending anesthesiologists. Anesthesia was adjusted according to traditional clinical signs and hemodynamic parameters. A neuropsychology battery of tests was administered before and at 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Results were compared with matched control patients who did not have surgery during the same period. Delirium was measured using the confusion assessment method criteria.

Results: The median (interquartile range) BIS values during the maintenance period of anesthesia were significantly lower in the control group, 36 (31 to 49), compared with the BIS-guided group, 53 (48 to 57), P<0.001. BIS-guided anesthesia reduced propofol delivery by 21% and that for volatile anesthetics by 30%. There were fewer patients with delirium in the BIS group compared with routine care (15.6% vs. 24.1%, P=0.01). Although cognitive performance was similar between groups at 1 week after surgery, patients in the BIS group had a lower rate of POCD at 3 months compared with routine care (10.2% vs. 14.7%; adjusted odds ratio 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.32-0.98; P=0.025).

Conclusions: BIS-guided anesthesia reduced anesthetic exposure and decreased the risk of POCD at 3 months after surgery. For every 1000 elderly patients undergoing major surgery, anesthetic delivery titrated to a range of BIS between 40 and 60 would prevent 23 patients from POCD and 83 patients from delirium.

*Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin

Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tuen Mun, NT

Laboratory of Neuropsychology, Institute of Clinical Neuropsychology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Members of the CODA Trial Group are listed in the Appendix.

Supported by Competitive Earmarked Research Grant (CUHK4400/06M), Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and Health and Health Services Research Fund (04060271).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Matthew T.V. Chan, MD, MBBS, FANZCA, Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong (e-mail:

Received June 4, 2012

Accepted August 27, 2012

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.