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Journal Article

Acquisition of sensorimotor fMRI under general anaesthesia: Assessment of feasibility, the BOLD response and clinical utility


Weiskopf,  Nikolaus
Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom;
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Yamato, A. K., Magerkurth, J., Mancini, L., White, M. J., Miserocchi, A., McEvoy, A. W., et al. (2019). Acquisition of sensorimotor fMRI under general anaesthesia: Assessment of feasibility, the BOLD response and clinical utility. NeuroImage: Clinical, 23: 101923. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2019.101923.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-6EE1-3
We evaluated whether task-related fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) BOLD (blood oxygenation level dependent) activation could be acquired under conventional anaesthesia at a depth enabling neurosurgery in five patients with supratentorial gliomas. Within a 1.5 T MRI operating room immediately prior to neurosurgery, a passive finger flexion sensorimotor paradigm was performed on each hand with the patients awake, and then immediately after the induction and maintenance of combined sevoflurane and propofol general anaesthesia. The depth of surgical anaesthesia was measured and confirmed with an EEG-derived technique, the Bispectral Index (BIS). The magnitude of the task-related BOLD response and BOLD sensitivity under anaesthesia were determined. The fMRI data were assessed by three fMRI expert observers who rated each activation map for somatotopy and usefulness for radiological neurosurgical guidance.

The mean magnitudes of the task-related BOLD response under a BIS measured depth of surgical general anaesthesia were 25% (tumour affected hemisphere) and 22% (tumour free hemisphere) of the respective awake values. BOLD sensitivity under anaesthesia ranged from 7% to 83% compared to the awake state. Despite these reductions, somatotopic BOLD activation was observed in the sensorimotor cortex in all ten data acquisitions surpassing statistical thresholds of at least p < 0.001uncorr. All ten fMRI activation datasets were scored to be useful for radiological neurosurgical guidance.

Passive task-related sensorimotor fMRI acquired in neurosurgical patients under multi-pharmacological general anaesthesia is reproducible and yields clinically useful activation maps. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the technique and its potential value if applied intra-operatively. Additionally these methods may enable fMRI investigations in patients unable to perform or lie still for awake paradigms, such as young children, claustrophobic patients and those with movement disorders.