Impact of propofol on mid-latency auditory-evoked potentials in children

Br J Anaesth. 2013 Jun;110(6):1001-9. doi: 10.1093/bja/aet002. Epub 2013 Feb 10.


Background: Propofol is increasingly used in paediatric anaesthesia, but can be challenging to titrate accurately in this group. Mid-latency auditory-evoked potentials (MLAEPs) can be used to help titrate propofol. However, the effects of propofol on MLAEP in children are unclear. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between propofol and MLAEP in children undergoing anaesthesia.

Methods: Fourteen healthy children aged 4-16 yr received anaesthesia for elective surgery. Before surgery, propofol was administered in three concentrations (3, 6, 9 µg ml(-1)) through a target-controlled infusion pump using Kataria and colleagues' model. MLAEPs were recorded 5 min after having reached each target propofol concentration at each respective concentration. Additionally, venous propofol blood concentrations were assayed at each measuring time point.

Results: Propofol increased all four MLAEP peak latencies (peaks Na, Pa, Nb, P1) in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the differences in amplitudes were significantly smaller with increasing propofol target concentrations. The measured propofol plasma concentrations correlated positively with the latencies of the peaks Na, Pa, and Nb.

Conclusions: Propofol affects MLAEP latencies and amplitudes in children in a dose-dependent manner. MLAEP measurement might therefore be a useful tool for monitoring depth of propofol anaesthesia in children.

Keywords: monitoring, auditory-evoked potentials; paediatric anaesthesia; propofol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Propofol / blood
  • Propofol / pharmacology*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects*


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Propofol