Automated Anesthesia to Help During Medically Induced Comas

anesthesiaFor patients having surgery to treat persistent seizures or following severe brain trauma, it may often be easier and safer for surgeons and medical professionals to place the patient under a medically-induced coma. However, doing so requires monitoring the EEG constantly and manually adjusting anesthesia levels in order to keep the brain stable. To minimize much of the man power that placing patients under medically-induced comas requires, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and MIT have teamed up to develop a computerized system that will monitor patient brain activity effectively during medically-induced comas, and adjust anesthesia accordingly.

The software developed required simply adding algorithms to brain monitoring software so they would now include EEG readings. The system measures patients’ brain activity and compares this to target goals for their brain activity, then adjusts the anesthesia accordingly. At the time of press release in late 2013, rodent studies had been successful with the system giving a nearly perfect EEG reading. The research team is awaiting approval to begin human trials.

(Source: IEEE Spectrum)

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