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The Effects of Volatile Anesthetics on Intraoperative Monitoring of Myogenic Motor-Evoked Potentials to Transcranial Electrical Stimulation and on Partial Neuromuscular Blockade During Propofol/Fentanyl/Nitrous Oxide Anesthesia in Humans

Sekimoto, Kenichi MD; Nishikawa, Koichi MD, PhD; Ishizeki, Junko MD; Kubo, Kazuhiro MD; Saito, Shigeru MD, PhD; Goto, Fumio MD, PhD

Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology: April 2006 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 106-111
Clinical Investigation

The aim of the present study was to compare the influence of volatile anesthetics on transcranial motor-evoked potentials (tcMEP) in humans anesthetized with propofol/fentanyl/nitrous oxide and on partial neuromuscular blockade (NMB). The authors studied 35 ASA I and II patients who were undergoing elective craniotomy and brain tumor resection. The patients were randomized to one of three groups to receive halothane (HAL), isoflurane (ISO), or sevoflurane (SEV). Anesthetic depth was initially adjusted using the bispectral index to 40±5, and NMB was adjusted to 40%–50% of one twitch of train of four (T1) after recovery from intubation. MEPs with train of five square-wave pulses were elicited using screw electrodes placed in the skull over C3–C4. After craniotomy, the inhalational agent was introduced at 0.5 MAC and then 1.0 MAC (20 minutes each), and the effects on MEPs, NMB, and hemodynamic variables were studied. A decrease in BIS and systolic blood pressure was observed with all agents. Both SEV and ISO at 1.0 MAC significantly decreased train-of-four ratio from 38.4±18.1 at control to 19.0±9.7 and from 35.3±12.4 to 26.1±13.7, respectively (P<0.001), but not HAL at 1.0 MAC. The amplitudes of tcMEPs were significantly reduced by all agents at 1.0 MAC, with the effect being less in HAL at 0.5 MAC. We have shown that HAL had a lesser suppressive effect on MEPs than either ISO or SEV at 0.5 MAC, which was partially due to a lesser degree of NMB.

Department of Anesthesiology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Showa-machi, Maebashi City, Japan

Supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture of Japan to K.N. (17390425 and 17659483).

Reprints: Koichi Nishikawa, Department of Anesthesiology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi City 3718511, Japan (e-mail:

Received for publication August 19, 2005; revised November 10, 2005; accepted November 10, 2005

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.