The influence of age on EEG-based anaesthesia indices

David P. Obert, Catrin Schweizer, Sebastian Zinn, Stephan Kratzer, Darren Hight, Jamie Sleigh, Gerhard Schneider, Paul S. García, Matthias Kreuzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Study objective: In the upcoming years there will be a growing number of elderly patients requiring general anaesthesia. As age is an independent risk factor for postoperative delirium (POD) the incidence of POD will increase concordantly. One approach to reduce the risk of POD would be to avoid excessively high doses of anaesthetics by using neuromonitoring to guide anaesthesia titration. Therefore, we evaluated the influence of patient's age on various electroencephalogram (EEG)-based anaesthesia indices. Design and patients: We conducted an analysis of previously published data by replaying single electrode EEG episodes of maintenance of general anaesthesia from 180 patients (18–90 years; ASA I-IV) into the five different commercially available monitoring systems and evaluated their indices. We included the State/Response Entropy, Narcotrend, qCON/qNOX, bispectral index (BIS), and Treaton MGA-06. For a non-commercial comparison, we extracted the spectral edge frequency (SEF) from the BIS. To evaluate the influence of the age we generated linear regression models. We also assessed the correlation between the various indices. Main results: During anaesthetic maintenance the values of the SEF, State/Response Entropy, qCON/qNOX and BIS all significantly increased (0.05 Hz/0.19–0.26 index points per year) with the patient's age (p < 0.001); whereas the Narcotrend did not change significantly with age (0.06 index points per year; p = 0.28). The index values of the Treaton device significantly decreased with age (−0.09 index points per year; p < 0.001). These findings were independent of the administered dose of anaesthetics. Conclusions: Almost all current neuromonitoring devices are influenced by age, with the potential to result in inappropriately high dosage of anaesthetics. Therefore, anaesthesiologists should be aware of this phenomenon, and the next generation of monitors should correct for these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110325
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaesthesia general
  • Elderly
  • Electroencephalography
  • Neuromonitoring
  • Sevoflurane


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