Information processing during cardiac surgery : an event related potential study

J.C. Hooff, van, N.A.M. Beer, de, C.H.M. Brunia, P.J.M. Cluitmans, H.H.M. Korsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate whether information processing persists during general anesthesia, and if so, to determine the relationship between the degree of cognitive processing measured during anesthesia and the presence or absence of intraoperative memories measured after anesthesia. Subjects were 12 patients, undergoing cardiac surgery with propofol/alfentanil anesthesia. During several periods of the operation, event related potentials (ERPs) to frequent and infrequent tones of different pitch were analyzed. After the operation, a word recognition task with ERP recording was administered to determine whether intraoperatively presented words would elicit a (covert) recognition reaction in the brain. ERP wave forms could be obtained during the intraoperative recording periods but differed substantially from those in the awake state. The presence of ERP components up to 500 msec after stimulus presentation suggests that auditory information processing continued during anesthesia up to a certain level of cognition. Intraoperative ERPs to frequent and infrequent tones were not different from each other implying that differences in pitch could not be detected. The postoperative results demonstrated evidence for intraoperative memories in 3 patients. For 2 of these 3 patients, low propofollevels as well as reliable ERPs with large amplitudes were found close to the moment of information presentation. The results emphasize the importanceof combining intra- and postoperative measurements and suggest that late ERP components might be used as indicators of an increased risk of auditory perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-452
Number of pages20
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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