Background and objective Variability in blink duration was examined to see whether it was sensitive to sevoflurane sedation at 0.05 and 0.1 minimum alveolar concentration (MAC).
Methods Blinks were measured with an infrared transducer in eight subjects. Sedation was scored using a visual analogue scale (VAS).
Results At baseline, 0.05 and 0.1 MAC sevoflurane, respectively, the overall median value of blink duration and its interquartile range were 95 (80–110) ms, 198 (163–245) ms and 210 (130–980) ms. The median percentage of blinks exceeding 500 ms was 0% (0–0.7%), 33.3% (25.5–34.7%) and 25% (15.7–63.3%) respectively. Values during 0.05 and 0.1 MAC sevoflurane were significantly different from baseline (P < 0.035) but not from each other. Baseline visual analogue scales showed large intersubject variability. Compared with baseline, VAS scores were higher at 0.05 MAC (P < 0.035) but not at 0.1 MAC. After discontinuing sevoflurane, median blink duration returned to baseline with a recovery half-life of 2.6 min (R2 = 0.95).
Conclusion Blink duration is a sensitive measure of sevoflurane sedation even at 0.05 MAC.