JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Clinical comparison of either small doses of fentanyl or remifentanil for blunting cardiovascular changes induced by tracheal intubation

A Albertin, A Casati, F Deni, G Danelli, L Comotti, F Grifoni, G Fanelli
Minerva Anestesiologica 2000, 66 (10): 691-6
11194979

BACKGROUND: To compare in a prospective, randomized study the effects on cardiovascular changes after tracheal intubation produced by small doses of either remifentanil or fentanyl.

METHODS: With Ethical Committee approval, after intravenous midazolam premedication (0.05 mg.kg-1), 30 normotensive, ASA physical status I-II patients, without cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, and with a Mallampati score < 2, were randomly allocated to receive an intravenous bolus of either 3 micrograms.kg-1 fentanyl (n = 15) or 1 microgram.kg-1 remifentanil (n = 15) infused over 60 sec and followed by a 0.15 microgram.kg-1.min-1 continuous intravenous infusion. General anesthesia was then induced with propofol (2 mg.kg-1), followed by atracurium besilate (0.5 mg.kg-1) to facilitate tracheal intubation. Following intubation, the lungs were ventilated mechanically using a 60% nitrous oxide in oxygen mixture with a 1% inspired fraction of sevoflurane. Arterial blood pressure and heart rate were recorded before anesthesia induction (baseline), one minute after induction of anesthesia, immediately after tracheal intubation and every minute for the first five minutes after intubation.

RESULTS: Systolic arterial blood pressure values were significantly higher in the Fentanyl than in the Remifentanil group patients from 2 to 5 min after tracheal intubation (p < 0.01), while no differences were observed between the two groups in either diastolic arterial blood pressure or heart rate values. Four patients in the Remifentanil group (26%) but only one patient in the Fentanyl group (7%) showed systolic blood pressure values < 90 mmHg during the study period (p = not significant); however, the observed decreases in systolic arterial blood pressure values were transient and did not require treatment for any subject.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that in healthy normotensive patients, the control of cardiovascular responses to tracheal intubation obtained with a 1 microgram.kg-1 loading dose of remifentanil is more effective than that provided by a 3 micrograms.kg-1 bolus of fentanyl, with the advantage of no risks for postoperative respiratory depression.

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