Near-infrared spectroscopy as an index of brain and tissue oxygenation

Br J Anaesth. 2009 Dec;103 Suppl 1:i3-13. doi: 10.1093/bja/aep299.


Continuous real-time monitoring of the adequacy of cerebral perfusion can provide important therapeutic information in a variety of clinical settings. The current clinical availability of several non-invasive near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)-based cerebral oximetry devices represents a potentially important development for the detection of cerebral ischaemia. In addition, a number of preliminary studies have reported on the application of cerebral oximetry sensors to other tissue beds including splanchnic, renal, and spinal cord. This review provides a synopsis of the mode of operation, current limitations and confounders, clinical applications, and potential future uses of such NIRS devices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Child
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods*
  • Oximetry / methods
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*