Hemodynamics and emergence profile of remifentanil versus fentanyl prospectively compared in a large population of surgical patients.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To compare the responses to, and hemodynamics associated with surgical stress, recovery profiles, and anesthesiologists' satisfaction following balanced general anesthesia using either remifentanil or fentanyl in a large-scale population. DESIGN: Prospective, 1:1 single blind, randomized, controlled effectiveness study in which patients received either remifentanil or fentanyl in combination with a hypnotic-based anesthesia regimen of either isoflurane or propofol. SETTING: Multicenter study including 156 hospitals and ambulatory surgery facilities. PATIENTS: 2,438 patients (1,496 outpatients and 942 inpatients), 18 years of age or older, scheduled for elective surgeries under general endotracheal anesthesia, with an expected duration of unconsciousness > or =30 minutes. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized to receive either intravenous (IV) remifentanil (0.5 microg/kg/min for induction and intubation, with the infusion rate decreased to 0.25 microg/kg/min after intubation) or IV fentanyl (administered according to anesthesiologists' usual practice) as the opioid during surgery. Concomitant hypnotic drugs were either propofol and/or isoflurane (with or without nitrous oxide) titrated according to protocol. Transition analgesia with either morphine or fentanyl was given to the remifentanil patients and, at the anesthesiologists' discretion, in the fentanyl patients. MEASUREMENTS: Vital signs, adverse events, and emergence profiles were assessed and recorded. Recovery profile was assessed by recording time spent in the postanesthesia care unit and step-down recovery unit, number and timing of adverse events, timing and dosage of rescue medications, and time to eligibility for discharge (to home or to hospital room). Anesthesiologists' satisfaction with the anesthetic regimen was assessed at the end of surgery. MAIN RESULTS: Remifentanil-treated patients exhibited lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures (by 10-15 mmHg) and lower heart rates (by 10-15 bpm) intraoperatively compared to the fentanyl-treated patients. This difference promptly disappeared on emergence. Remifentanil-treated patients responded to verbal command, left the operating room, and (for outpatients) were discharged home sooner than fentanyl-treated patients. Anesthesiologists rated the predictability of response to intraoperative titration, assessment of hemodynamic profiles, and the quality of anesthesia higher in the remifentanil-treated patients. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms previous observations on the hemodynamic properties associated with remifentanil and extends these to a wider context than previously reported. These characteristics provide clinicians with an alternative in opioid-based anesthesia.
Twersky, RS; Jamerson, B; Warner, DS; Fleisher, LA; Hogue, S
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