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Keywords:

  • anesthesia;
  • blood pressure;
  • catecholamines;
  • heart rate;
  • skin conductance

Background: Skin conductance (SC) as a measure of emotional state or arousal may be a tool for monitoring surgical stress in anaesthesia. When an outgoing sympathetic nervous burst occurs to the skin, the palmar and plantar sweat glands are filled up, and the SC increases before the sweat is removed and the SC decreases. This creates a SC fluctuation. The purpose of this study was to measure SC during laparoscopic cholecystectomy with propofol and remifentanil anesthaesia and to evaluate whether number and amplitude of SC fluctuations correlate with perioperative stress monitoring.

Methods: Eleven patients were studied nine times before, during and after anaesthesia. SC was compared to changes in stress measures such as blood pressure, heart rate, norepinephrine and epinephrine levels. SC was also compared to changes in Bispectral index (BIS).

Results: The blood pressure, epinephrine levels and norepinephrine levels were positively correlated with both the number (P < 0.001) and amplitude (P < 0.01) of the SC fluctuations. Moreover, the BIS was positively correlated with the number (P < 0.001) and amplitude (P < 0.001) of the SC fluctuations. Furthermore, during tracheal intubation, the mean levels of the number of SC fluctuations from the 11 patients had the same stress response as measured in changes of the mean levels of norepinephrine. The mean BIS did not show any stress response during tracheal intubation.

Conclusion: Number of SC fluctuations may be a useful method for monitoring the perioperative stress.