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Awareness in Anaesthesia
Andrade, J. & Jones, J.G.
In: G. Hall & M. Morgan (eds), Short Practice of Anaesthesia London: Chapman and Hall
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Awareness during anaesthesia affects a small proportion (under 0.3%) of surgical patients, but the large numbers of patients being anaesthetised means it is experienced by many people. Estimates of awareness are usually based upon patients’ spontaneous recall of surgery. We suggest that an additional group of patients may be awake during surgery but subsequently have only implicit memory for events during this time. This implicit memory may still influence recovery. To resolve this issue, there is a need for an objective measure of depth of anaesthesia, clinical signs being shown to be of no value. The most promising candidates for measuring depth of anaesthesia are median frequency, bispectral analysis, and the transient and steady state auditory evoked responses.