Implicit memory varies as a function of hypnotic electroencephalogram stage in surgical patients

Sinikka Münte*, Thomas F. Münte, Jörg Grotkamp, Gertrud Haeseler, Konstantinos Raymondos, Siegfried Piepenbrock, Gabriele Kraus

*Corresponding author for this work
24 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have observed a correlation of implicit memory with certain electroencephalogram (EEG) measures during anesthesia. Here, we tested the relationship between hypnotic depth determined by computer system (Narcotrend™) and implicit memory in anesthetized patients, assessed by a postoperative reading speed test. Thirty-two patients undergoing laparoscopic herniotomy and 30 age-matched volunteer controls were included the study. All patients received IV midazolam 2-3 mg followed by an induction dose of propofol and remifentanil. The anesthesia was maintained with propofol and remifentanil infusions and cisatracurium. Each patient was exposed to 2 of 4 stories, repeated 6 times. The first story was presented during light to moderate hypnotic EEG stages, and the second story was presented during deep hypnosis. Presentation of stories was balanced between patients and hypnotic stages. The controls listened to the two stories without receiving anesthesia. The reading speed for the previously presented stories and two new stories was measured approximately 7 h later with a computer program. No signs of inadequate anesthesia were observed, and no explicit memories of intraoperative events were revealed by a structured interview. No change of reading speed was observed for words presented during deep hypnotic stages. In contrast, an increased reading speed of 20 ms per word was found for content words (i.e., nouns, verbs, and adjectives), but not for function words (conjunctions, prepositions, and so on), presented during light to moderate hypnotic stages. Increased reading speed for semantically rich content words indicates that anesthetized patients are able to process acoustic information during light and moderate, but not deep, hypnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)132-138
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2003

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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