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A retrospective study of changes in cerebral oxygenation using a cerebral oximeter in older patients undergoing prolonged major abdominal surgery

Green, D. W.

European Journal of Anaesthesiology (EJA): March 2007 - Volume 24 - Issue 3 - p 230-234
doi: 10.1017/S0265021506001645
Original Article

Background and objective: The objective was to carry out a retrospective study of changes in regional cerebral oxygen saturation (rSO2) using the Somanetics Invos Cerebral Oximeter (SICO) in older patients undergoing prolonged major abdominal surgery. Since evidence is accumulating that detection and correction of falls in rSO2 may be associated with a reduced incidence of postoperative cognitive dysfunction, the study assessed the incidence and possible predisposing factors for significant falls in rSO2 and strategies for correction.

Methods: Data from 46 consecutive patients aged 55 yr or above undergoing major abdominal surgery were collected and studied. A SICO electrode was placed over the right forehead prior to commencement of anaesthesia and values of rSO2 were recorded automatically on a floppy disk at 20 s intervals throughout the procedure and until transfer of the patient to the postanaesthesia care unit. Anaesthesia and physiological data were routinely collected by the author on an anaesthetic record computer and transferred to an Excel spreadsheet for analysis.

Results: Average duration of the surgery exceeded 7 h. Average blood loss was 1363 mL (interquartile range 500–2000). In 11 of the 46 patients the rSO2 drop exceeded 20%, and in six, there was a significant temporal association of rSO2 drop with ongoing major haemorrhage. In 23 of the 46 patients, a maximum drop in rSO2 occurred, which was about 15% or more. Fall in rSO2 in the 46 patients significantly correlated with blood loss (P < 0.05) and percentage fall in haemoglobin (Hb) (P = 0.01) but not with lowest Hb. Despite maintenance of conventional haemodynamic parameters such as systolic blood pressure (BP) in most patients, the fall in rSO2 seemed only reversible by blood transfusion. In five of the six patients who experienced the greatest decline in rSO2 during haemorrhage, there was no correlation between fall in rSO2 and systolic BP.

Conclusions: This retrospective study confirms that a significant reduction in rSO2 is a common accompaniment to prolonged major abdominal surgery in elderly patients, especially if associated with blood loss, and is correctable by blood transfusion. In most cases, these changes would have gone unnoticed with conventional monitoring.

King's College Hospital NHS Trust, Intensive Care and Pain Relief, Department of Anaesthetics, Denmark Hill, London, UK

Correspondence to: D. W. Green, Department of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Relief, King's College Hospital NHS Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK. E-mail:

Accepted for publication 01 September 2006

© 2007 European Society of Anaesthesiology