Towards safe closed-loop control of anesthesia


Distinguished Seminar in Robotics, Systems & Control

The first published work on closed-loop control of anesthesia authored by Mayo, Bickford and Faulconer dates back to 1950. However, feedback
control of anesthesia has yet to become adopted for clinical use despite the fact that since 1950, and especially since the availability of depth-ofhypnosis
monitors many systems have been developed and clinically tested. For clinical adoption to take place, benefits to the patient have to be
demonstrated while patient safety has to be guaranteed. This presentation will focus on the engineering design process that can ensure patient safety
by design. A major characteristic of the anesthesia closed-loop control problem is the significant inter and intra-patient variability and that under such
circumstances, the control system has to perform adequately and safely for a patient it has never seen and with very limited learning opportunity.
This is why it is crucial for such systems to be designed by expert control engineers well versed in robust control theory. I will briefly describe the
theory of robust control and demonstrate its use for closed-loop anesthesia in order to guarantee closed-loop stability and a minimum level of performance
acceptable to the clinician. Furthermore, the system has to be able to handle safely a number of exceptions with well-designed fallback
modes. This is where the field of safety-preserving control, a concept developed for aeronautic applications, can provide a number of attractive
solutions. This will be demonstrated through work performed at the University of British Columbia when developing our closed-loop TIVA control
system, iControl. Finally, because the anesthesiologist will remain in the loop and has to be able to take over in a safe manner should the need arise,
the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) aspects have to be carefully studied and designed. I will cover some of our nascent work on this topic, also
inspired by aeronautics applications.

  Date and Time




  • Rämistrasse 101
  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Switzerland 8092
  • Building: HG
  • Room Number: G3
  • Co-sponsored by ETH Zürich - Department of Health Sciences and Technology


Prof. Dr. Guy A. Dumont of The University of British Columbia


Guy A. Dumont received the Dipl. Ing. degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers, Paris, France, in 1973, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, in 1977. He was with Tioxide, France, from 1973 to 1974, and again from 1977 to 1979. He was with Paprican from 1979 to 1989, first in Montreal and then in Vancouver. In 1989, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia, where he is a Professor, cofounder of the Electrical and Computer Engineering in Medicine (ECEM) Research Group, and an associate member of the Department of Anaesthesia. From 1989 to 1999, he held the Paprican/NSERC Chair in Process Control, and from 2000 to 2002, he was also the Associate Dean, Research for the Faculty of Applied Science. His current research interests include adaptive control, predictive control, and signal processing with a particular focus on applications to patient monitoring, and physiological closed-loop control systems such as automated drug delivery in anaesthesia. Dr. Dumont was awarded a 1979 IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control Honorable Paper Award, a 1985 Paprican Presidential Citation, a 1990 UBC Killam Research Prize, the 1995 CPPA Weldon Medal, the 1998 Universal Dynamics Prize for Leadership in Process Control Technology, the IEEE Control Systems Society 1998 Control Systems Technology Award, NSERC Synergy Awards in 1999, 2002 and 2016, and the 2010 Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. In 2011–12, and again in 2018-19, he was a UBC Peter Wall Distinguished Scholar in Residence. He has been a Fellow of the IEEE since 1998, and in 2017 he was elected a Fellow of IFAC as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.