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Bispectral Index monitoring in cancer patients undergoing palliative sedation: a preliminary report

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Abstract

Introduction

Continuous palliative sedation (PS) is currently titrated based on clinical observation; however, it is often unclear if patients are still aware of their suffering. The aim of this prospective study is to characterize the level of consciousness in patients undergoing PS using Bispectral Index (BIS) monitoring.

Patients and methods

We enrolled consecutive patients with refractory symptoms requiring PS. We documented the level of sedation using Ramsay Sedation Scale (RSS) and BIS at 0, 2, 4, 6, 12, and 24 h during the first day of PS and examined their degree of association. Intravenous midazolam or propofol was titrated according to the sedation level.

Results

Twenty patients on PS were recruited and had BIS continuous monitoring. Delirium was the most frequent reason for PS (n = 15, 75%). The median time of sedation was 24.5 h (interquartile range 6–46). The average time to achieve the desired sedation level was 6 h, and dose titration was required in 80% of the cases. At baseline, 14 (70%) patients were considered to be awake according to RSS (i.e., 1–3) and 19 (95%) were awake according to BIS (i.e., >60%). This proportion decreased to 31 and 56% at 4 h, 27% and 53 at 6 h, and 22 and 33% at 24 h. RS and BIS had moderate correlation (rho = −0.58 to −0.65); however, a small proportion of patients were found to be awake by BIS (i.e., ≥60%) despite clinical observation (i.e., RSS 4–6) indicating otherwise.

Conclusions

The BIS is a noninvasive, bedside, real-time continuous monitoring method that may facilitate the objective assessment of level of consciousness and dose titration in patients undergoing PS.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Dana Aline Perez-Camargo and Adriana Pena for the support in the statistical analysis of the data, Oscar Rodriguez-Mayoral for the discussion of the manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

The authors declare that they have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review their data if requested.

Conception and design: Edith Monreal-Carrillo, Silvia Allende-Pérez, and Emma Verástegui

Data collection: Maria-Fernanda Garcia Salamanca

Analysis and interpretation of data: Edith Monreal-Carrillo, Emma Verástegui, David Hui, and Silvia Allende-Pérez

Manuscript writing: Emma Verástegui, Edith Monreal-Carrillo, David Hui, and Eduardo Bruera

Approval of final article: Emma Verástegui, David Hui, Edith Monreal-Carrillo, Silvia Allende-Pérez, Maria-Fernanda Garcia Salamanca, and Eduardo Bruera

All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Emma Verástegui.

Ethics declarations

Written consent was obtained from the legal representative before palliative sedation and BIS monitoring were initiated. This study was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the INCan (Ref. CEI/1006).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Funding

This work received no financial support.

Additional information

Edith Monreal-Carrillo and Silvia Allende-Pérez contributed to the work equally.

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Monreal-Carrillo, E., Allende-Pérez, S., Hui, D. et al. Bispectral Index monitoring in cancer patients undergoing palliative sedation: a preliminary report. Support Care Cancer 25, 3143–3149 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3722-8

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