Comparison of effects of remifentanil and alfentanil on cardiovascular response to tracheal intubation in hypertensive patients

A M Maguire, N Kumar, J L Parker, D J Rowbotham, J P Thompson
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2001, 86 (1): 90-3
In a randomized double-blind study, we compared the effect of remifentanil and alfentanil on the cardiovascular response to laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation in patients on long-term treatment for hypertension. Forty ASA II-III patients were allocated to receive (i) remifentanil 0.5 microg kg(-1) followed by an infusion of 0.1 microg kg min(-1) or (ii) alfentanil 10 microg kg(-1) followed by an infusion of saline; all patients received glycopyrrolate 200 microg before the study drug. Anaesthesia was induced with propofol and rocuronium and maintained with 1% isoflurane and 66% nitrous oxide in oxygen. Laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation were performed after establishment of neuromuscular block. Arterial pressure and heart rate (HR) were measured non-invasively at 1 min intervals from 3 min before induction until 5 min after intubation. Systolic (SAP), diastolic and mean arterial pressure decreased significantly after induction in both groups (P<0.05). Maximum increases in mean SAP after laryngoscopy and intubation were 35 and 41 mm Hg in the remifentanil and alfentanil groups, respectively. After intubation, arterial pressure did not increase above baseline values in either group. HR remained stable after induction of anaesthesia, but increased above baseline values after intubation. Mean maximum HR was 87 beats min(-1) for the remifentanil group (12 beats min(-1) above baseline; P=0.065) and 89 beats min(-1) for the alfentanil group (15 beats min(-1) above baseline; P<0.05). There were no significant differences between groups in HR or arterial pressure at any time. There were no incidences of bradycardia. Seven patients in the remifentanil group and four in the alfentanil group received ephedrine for hypotension (i.e. SAP<100 mm Hg).

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