The predictability of pain makes surgery an ideal model for the study of pain and the development of strategies for analgesia and reduction of perioperative pain. As functional near-infrared spectroscopy reproduces the known functional magnetic resonance imaging activations in response to a painful stimulus, we evaluated the feasibility of functional near-infrared spectroscopy to measure cortical responses to noxious stimulation during general anesthesia. A multichannel continuous wave near-infrared imager was used to measure somatosensory and frontal cortical activation in patients undergoing catheter ablation of arrhythmias under general anesthesia. Anesthetic technique was standardized and intraoperative NIRS signals recorded continuously with markers placed in the data set for the timing and duration of each cardiac ablation event. Frontal cortical signals only were suitable for analysis in five of eight patients studied (mean age 14 ± 1 years, weight 66.7 ± 17.6 kg, 2 males). Thirty ablative lesions were recorded for the five patients. Radiofrequency or cryoablation was temporally associated with a hemodynamic response function in the frontal cortex characterized by a significant decrease in oxyhemoglobin concentration (paired t-test, p<0.05) with the nadir occurring in the period 4 to 6 seconds after application of the ablative lesion. Cortical signals produced by catheter ablation of arrhythmias in patients under general anesthesia mirrored those seen with noxious stimulation in awake, healthy volunteers, during sedation for colonoscopy, and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging activations in response to pain. This study demonstrates the feasibility and potential utility of functional near-infrared spectroscopy as an objective measure of cortical activation under general anesthesia.