Effects on the bispectral index during elective caesarean section: A comparison of propofol and isoflurane

P. S. Tsai, C. J. Huang, Y. C. Hung, C. R. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Awareness during general anesthesia has been a particular problem during caesarean section. About 7 percent of patients undergoing elective caesarean section have reported dreaming or recall of voices during the procedure. The bispectral index (BIS), a value derived from the electroencephalogram (EEG), has been shown to be useful in monitoring the depth of anesthesia. Supplementation of propofol or isoflurane for maintenance of anesthesia has been shown to effectively reduce the incidence of awareness. However, the effects of propofol or isoflurane on the BIS index have not been fully investigated. We therefore designed this study to compare the effects of isoflurane or propofol supplementation on the BIS index in 24 healthy parturients undergoing elective caesarean section. Methods: All patients had induction of anesthesia and orotracheal intubation in rapid sequence made possible by 1 MAC isoflurane with 50% N2O-50% O2 as conveyer and atracurium. After delivery, patients were randomly assigned to either of two groups (isoflurane or propofol). Patients in the Isoflurane group (n = 12) received 0.5 MAC isoflurane in 67% N2O-33% O2 and fentanyl + droperidol. Patients in the propofol group (n = 12) received propofol (8 mg/kg/h) infusion combined with 67% N2O-33% O2 and fentanyl + droperidol. Results: There was no difference between the two groups in total operation time, maternal blood loss, fetal Apgar scores. No differences between the two groups in heart rate, blood pressure or BIS index values were found throughout the surgery. No patient from either group reported recall of the operative procedure. However, 25% of patients (3 of 12) in the isoflurane group had poor uterine contraction, suggestive of doubtful appropriateness of the use of isoflurane for maintenance of anesthesia in delivery. Conclusions: We therefore concluded that supplementation of isoflurane or propofol for maintenance of anesthesia can satisfactorily decrease the BIS index and minimize the incidence of awareness in patients undergoing caesarean section under general anesthesia. The BIS index is a reliable monitor of the hypnotic component of anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Sinica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Awareness
  • Caesarean section
  • Electroencephalography
  • Isoflurane
  • Propofol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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