Safeguarding cerebral function is of major importance during pediatric anesthesia. Premature, ex‐premature, and full‐term neonates can be vulnerable to physiologi‐ cal changes that occur during anesthesia and surgery. Data from studies performed during pediatric cardiac surgery and in neonatal/pediatric intensive care units have shown the benefits of near‐infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) monitoring of regional cer‐ ebral oxygenation (c‐rSO2). However, NIRS monitoring is seldom used during non‐ cardiac pediatric anesthesia. Despite compelling evidence that blood pressure does not reflect end‐organ perfusion, it is still regarded as the most important determi‐ nant of cerebral perfusion and the most relevant hemodynamic management target parameter by most (pediatric) anesthetists. The principle of NIRS monitoring is not self‐explanatory and sometimes seems even counterintuitive, which may explain why many anesthesiologists are reserved regarding its use. The first part of this paper is dedicated to a clinical introduction to NIRS monitoring. Despite scientific efforts, it has not yet been possible to define individual lower limit c‐rSO2 values and it is unlikely this will succeed in the near future. Nonetheless, published treatment algo‐ rithms usually specify c‐rSO2 values which may be associated with cerebral hypoxia. Our treatment guideline for maintaining sufficient cerebral oxygenation differs fun‐ damentally from all previously published approaches. We define a baseline c‐rSO2 value, registered in the awake child prior to anesthesia induction, as the lowest ac‐ ceptable limit during anesthesia and surgery. The cerebral rSO2 is the single target parameter, while blood pressure, heart rate, PaCO2, and SaO2 are major parameters that determine the c‐rSO2. Cerebral NIRS monitoring, interpreted together with its continuously available contributing parameters, may help avoid potentially harmful episodes of cerebral desaturation in anesthetized pediatric patients.

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Paediatric Anaesthesia
Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics

Weber, F., & Scoones, G. (2019). A practical approach to cerebral near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) directed hemodynamic management in noncardiac pediatric anesthesia. Paediatric Anaesthesia. doi:10.1111/pan.13726