Age-dependent electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns during sevoflurane general anesthesia in infants

Elife. 2015 Jun 23;4:e06513. doi: 10.7554/eLife.06513.


Electroencephalogram (EEG) approaches may provide important information about developmental changes in brain-state dynamics during general anesthesia. We used multi-electrode EEG, analyzed with multitaper spectral methods and video recording of body movement to characterize the spatio-temporal dynamics of brain activity in 36 infants 0-6 months old when awake, and during maintenance of and emergence from sevoflurane general anesthesia. During maintenance: (1) slow-delta oscillations were present in all ages; (2) theta and alpha oscillations emerged around 4 months; (3) unlike adults, all infants lacked frontal alpha predominance and coherence. Alpha power was greatest during maintenance, compared to awake and emergence in infants at 4-6 months. During emergence, theta and alpha power decreased with decreasing sevoflurane concentration in infants at 4-6 months. These EEG dynamic differences are likely due to developmental factors including regional differences in synaptogenesis, glucose metabolism, and myelination across the cortex. We demonstrate the need to apply age-adjusted analytic approaches to develop neurophysiologic-based strategies for pediatric anesthetic state monitoring.

Keywords: EEG; alpha; anesthesia; computational biology; development; human; infant; neuroscience; sevoflurane; systems biology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / administration & dosage*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Methyl Ethers / administration & dosage*
  • Sevoflurane
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis


  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Methyl Ethers
  • Sevoflurane