Chakravarty, S., Donoghue, J., Waite, A. S. et al. 2023. Closed-loop control of anesthetic state in nonhuman primates. PNAS Nexus 2(10), 293.

Research in human volunteers and surgical patients has shown that unconsciousness under general anesthesia can be reliably tracked using real-time electroencephalogram processing. Hence, a closed-loop anesthesia delivery (CLAD) system that maintains precisely specified levels of unconsciousness is feasible and would greatly aid intraoperative patient management. The US Federal Drug Administration has approved no CLAD system for human use due partly to a lack of testing in appropriate animal models. To address this key roadblock, we implement a nonhuman primate (NHP) CLAD system that controls the level of unconsciousness using the anesthetic propofol. The key system components are a local field potential (LFP) recording system; propofol pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic models; the control variable (LFP power between 20 and 30 Hz), a programmable infusion system and a linear quadratic integral controller. Our CLAD system accurately controlled the level of unconsciousness along two different 125-min dynamic target trajectories for 18 h and 45 min in nine experiments in two NHPs. System performance measures were comparable or superior to those in previous CLAD reports. We demonstrate that an NHP CLAD system can reliably and accurately control in real-time unconsciousness maintained by anesthesia. Our findings establish critical steps for CLAD systems’ design and testing prior to human testing.