Ian Russell

TOPIC: History of the MAA Symposia


  • FRCA, MB ChB, B Med Biol (Hons)
  • Retired, but previo
    usly Consultant Anaesthetist, Hull Royal Infirmary, Kingston upon Hull, England (1981 to 2013).


Graduated B. Med. Biol. (Hons)
in physiology & pharmacology (1970) and MB, ChB (1973) from Aberdeen University. FFARCS (London, 1977). Has had a long-term interest in consciousness during general anaesthesia since working with Mike Tunstall and using the Isolated Forearm Technique during caesarean section in the late 1970s. Modified the IFT for more general use outside the obstetric operating theatres and, in collaboration with Michael Wang, investigated the occurrence of intraoperative consciousness with various anaesthetics (total intravenous & inhalational) and monitoring methods (from pulse rate & blood pressure to Anaesthesia Brain Monitors). These studies showed a clear separation of consciousness & responsiveness during general anaesthesia and subsequent post-operative recall, resulting in the IFT being described as the Gold Standard (for the assessment of intra-operative consciousness) against which all other methods should be compared.


IFT studies, a series of studies demonstrating that clinical signs were no good for preventing  consciousness during surgery/anaesthesia, that intra-operative awareness is not the same as post-op recall (ie the normal definition of anaesthetic awareness), and latterly, a series of papers illustrating that one cannot use the Narcotrend or the BIS monitor to guide the administration of anaesthesia, and at the same time prevent intra-operative awareness. These were the first studies to put a “brain monitor” through a “proper” test based in intra-operative awareness and not post-op recall.

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