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Functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy as a Monitor for Depth of Anesthesia

(K. Izzetoglu, K. Pourrezaei, J. Reynolds, M. Izzetoglu, J. Horrow, and S. Bunce)

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Abstract: Fear, dread, panic, and, less commonly, excruciating pain accompany unintended awareness during general anesthesia. No clinical device is currently available to reliably measure the depth of anesthesia for awareness during surgery. A reliable anesthesia depth monitor would find application in the vast majority of the 20 million general anesthetics administered (in 2004) in the United States. Drexel researchers have developed a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system for a reliable depth of anesthesia monitor to prevent awareness during surgery. The fNIRS is a non-invasive and safe medical device which detects the hemodynamic response of brain cortex to cognitive activation. This technology is intended to be utilized in the operating room (OR), intensive care unit (ICU) as well as a range of other settings where sedation is administered. The preliminary testing of the device has been completed through collaboration with clinical partners at the Drexel University College of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology. An alternative application of this system is monitoring the depth of sedation in endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures to prevent excessive administration of sedative. Tens of millions of such procedures are performed in the U.S. annually.

Drexel is in late stage negotiations with a group of experienced entrepreneurs interested in licensing this technology to form a new company to commercialize it. The entrepreneurs are looking for seed capital now and will be raising several million dollars in equity financing in the near future.