Cerebral and tissue oximetry

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2014 Dec;28(4):429-39. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2014.09.002. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


The use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been increasingly adopted in cardiac surgery to measure regional cerebral oxygen saturation. This method takes advantage of the fact that light in the near-infrared spectrum penetrates tissue, including bone and muscle. Sensors are placed at fixed distances from a light emitter, and algorithms subtract superficial light absorption from deep absorption to provide an index of tissue oxygenation. Although the popularity of NIRS monitoring is growing, definitive data that prove outcome benefits with its use remain sparse. Therefore, widespread, routine use of NIRS as a standard-of-care monitor cannot be recommended at present. Recent investigations have focused on the use of NIRS in subgroups that may benefit from NIRS monitoring, such as pediatric patients. Furthermore, a novel application of processed NIRS information for monitoring cerebral autoregulation and tissue oxygenation (e.g., kidneys and the gut) is promising.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01765504.

Keywords: NIRS; anesthesia; cardiac surgery; cerebral autoregulation; monitor; near-infrared spectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / surgery*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Oximetry*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01765504