The PhysioDoloris™ analgesia monitor assesses nociception effects on the autonomic nervous system by analyzing changes in heart rate variability (HRV). This non-invasive device analyses ECG signals and determines the analgesia nociception index (ANI), allowing for quantitative assessment of the analgesia/nociception balance in anesthetized patients. Ketamine, an analgesic adjuvant with sympathomimetic properties, has been shown to improve perioperative pain management. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate whether low-dose ketamine, due to its intrinsic effect on the sino-atrial node, affects HRV and, therefore, interferes with ANI measurements. This pilot study included 20 women undergoing abdominal hysterectomies. Anesthesia and analgesia were maintained with sevoflurane and fentanyl respectively, in a standardized manner. Five minutes after intubation, 0.5 μg kg−1 of intravenous (i.v.) ketamine was administered. ANI, bispectral index (BIS), heart rate and blood pressure were recorded from the induction of anesthesia until 5 min after skin incision. There was not any significant decrease in mean (±SD) ANI values after intubation (2.11 ± 20.11, p = 0.35) or i.v. ketamine administration (1.31 ± 15.26, p = 0.28). The mean (±SD) reduction in ANI values after skin incision was statistically significant (13.65 ± 15.44, p = 0.01), which is consistent with increased nociception. A single i.v. bolus of 0.5 μg kg−1 ketamine did not influence the ANI values of 20 women under standardized general anesthesia conditions and absent noxious stimulation. These results suggest that the ANI derived from the PhysioDoloris™ analgesia monitor is feasible under such clinical conditions.
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We would like to thank Katrina Golub, M.P.H. and Charles Spiekermann, PhD for their statistical support and Dr. T. A. Bowdle for critically reviewing the manuscript. This work was supported solely by departmental sources.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The investigation was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and Good Clinical Practice. This study was approved by the local ethical committee on the18th of April 2012 (Human Subjects Division, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Chairperson: K Korslund, Ph.D. Approval # 42398).
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