Cerebral oximetry has been studied for more than 30 years, and has been commercially available to clinicians for more than two decades. The benefits of monitoring cerebral oximetry have remained largely underutilized during anesthesia and thus a valuable clinical modality to ensure safe sedation dentistry with proven benefits is not being used to protect the welfare of our patients.
However, whereas pulse oximetry has been the standard of care for decades, only recently has cerebral oximetry been used to investigate changes in oxygen delivery to the brain, which consumes over 20 percent of all oxygen used by the body. Also yet to be determined is how the cerebral oximetry monitor may be used as a “first alert” of impending organ dysfunction during anesthesia.
This early alert from a cerebral oximetry monitor will allow preventive measures to be instituted by the sedation dentist and anesthesia provider immediately to preemptively avert further deterioration of blood oxygenation and the negative accompanying sequelae.
Sedation dentistry and anesthesiology in general have largely ignored the benefits of monitoring cerebral oximetry. Cerebral oximetry may also be a useful technique for predicting mortality from cardiac arrest. More pertinent to sedation dentists and other anesthesiologists in general, cerebral oximetry can be used as a very early warning to prompt the use of various improvements to the airway to facilitate improved pulmonary effectiveness in averting hypoxia to other vital organs during sedation dentistry and anesthesia in the operating room.
An aging population with decreasing organ function represents an increasing part of anesthesia practices. At our outpatient surgery practice alone, our elective anesthesia services are requested by an ever increasing number of patients in their 70’s and beyond. This underutilized technology offers anesthesiologists a noninvasive tool to continuously monitor the oxygenation of cerebral tissue on any patient treated either in and out of the hospital.