Total intravenous anesthesia: advantages for intracranial surgery.
OBJECTIVE: Although volatile anesthetics have been widely accepted in anesthetic management for neurosurgery, they reduce vascular resistance, resulting in increased cerebral blood flow and increased intracranial pressure (ICP). In patients with elevated ICP who undergo craniotomy, the increase in ICP during surgery from inhaled anesthetics can make the surgery more difficult, thereby increasing the risk of ischemic cerebral insults. Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) using propofol and analgesic drugs (remifentanil or fentanyl) and excluding simultaneous administration of any inhaled drugs is being used in patients undergoing craniotomy because of its potential to reduce ICP and ease access to the operative site. METHODS: We reviewed the literature and describe our experience with TIVA, with emphasis on hemodynamic stability, effects on ICP, emergence from anesthesia, extubation times, and return of cognitive function in patients undergoing craniotomy for space-occupying lesions. RESULTS: TIVA with propofol is similar to inhaled anesthetics with regard to hemodynamic stability, emergence times, extubation times, early cognitive function, and adverse events. In several prospective, randomized clinical trials, evidence suggests that ICP is decreased and cerebral perfusion pressure is increased in patients receiving TIVA when compared with those receiving volatile anesthetics during elective craniotomy procedures. CONCLUSION: The impact of TIVA on ICP, brain swelling, and access to the operative site in patients with severely elevated ICP has yet to be evaluated and is the subject of a future study at our institution.
Cole, CD; Gottfried, ON; Gupta, DK; Couldwell, WT
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