Assessing the depth of hypnosis of xenon anaesthesia with the EEG

Biomed Tech (Berl). 2010 Apr;55(2):77-82. doi: 10.1515/BMT.2010.022.


Xenon was approved as an inhaled anaesthetic in Germany in 2005 and in other countries of the European Union in 2007. Owing to its low blood/gas partition coefficient, xenons effects on the central nervous system show a fast onset and offset and, even after long xenon anaesthetics, the wake-up times are very short. The aim of this study was to examine which electroencephalogram (EEG) stages are reached during xenon application and whether these stages can be identified by an automatic EEG classification. Therefore, EEG recordings were performed during xenon anaesthetics (EEG monitor: Narcotrend®). A total of 300 EEG epochs were assessed visually with regard to the EEG stages. These epochs were also classified automatically by the EEG monitor Narcotrend® using multivariate algorithms. There was a high correlation between visual and automatic classification (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient r=0.957, prediction probability Pk=0.949). Furthermore, it was observed that very deep stages of hypnosis were reached which are characterised by EEG activity in the low frequency range (delta waves). The burst suppression pattern was not seen. In deep hypnosis, in contrast to the xenon EEG, the propofol EEG was characterised by a marked superimposed higher frequency activity. To ensure an optimised dosage for the single patient, anaesthetic machines for xenon should be combined with EEG monitoring. To date, only a few anaesthetic machines for xenon are available. Because of the high price of xenon, new and further developments of machines focus on optimizing xenon consumption.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms*
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / administration & dosage*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Xenon / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Xenon