Study: EEG Pattern Indicates State of Consciousness Under Anesthesia

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Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston identified an electroencephalogram brain pattern that signals the loss and regaining of consciousness for patients under propofol anesthesia, according to a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings may help provide anesthesia administrators with markers to monitor the state of a patient's unconsciousness when under general anesthesia from propofol, a drug commonly used for ambulatory anesthesia procedures.

Raw EEG data can give information about the brain's state under anesthesia, but most brain monitoring systems reduce the complex EEG read to a simplified number that does not accurately tell the brain state that created the pattern, according to researchers.

Researchers are now working on new monitoring techniques to develop EEG monitors that can display the patterns so anesthesiologists can be sure patients are unconscious and predict when they will regain consciousness, according to the release.

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