Sedation of Patients With Disorders of Consciousness During Neuroimaging

Kirsch, M. et al. Anesthesia & Analgesia. Published online: December 8, 2016

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Background: To reduce head movement during resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging, post-coma patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) are frequently sedated with propofol. However, little is known about the effects of this sedation on the brain connectivity patterns in the damaged brain essential for differential diagnosis. In this study, we aimed to assess these effects.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that connectivity decreases associated with propofol sedation, involving the thalamus and insula, are relatively small compared with those already caused by DOC-associated structural brain injury. Nonetheless, given the known importance of the thalamus in brain arousal, its disruption could well reflect the diminished movement obtained in these patients. However, more research is needed on this topic to fully address the research question.

Read the full abstract here

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