Comparison of the effects of dexmedetomidine versus fentanyl on airway reflexes and hemodynamic responses to tracheal extubation during rhinoplasty: A double-blind, randomized, controlled study

Recep Aksu, Aynur Akin, Cihangir Biçer, Aliye Esmaoğlu, Zeynep Tosun, Adem Boyaci
Current Therapeutic Research, Clinical and Experimental 2009, 70 (3): 209-20

BACKGROUND: Stimulation of various sites, from the nasal mucosa to the diaphragm, can evoke laryngospasm. To reduce airway reflexes, tracheal extubation should be performed while the patient is deeply anesthetized or with drugs that do not depress ventilation. However, tracheal extubation during rhinoplasty may be difficult because of the aspiration of blood and the possibility of laryngospasm. Dexmedetomidine and fentanyl both have sedative and analgesic effects, but dexmedetomidine has been reported to induce sedation without affecting respiratory status.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of dexmedetomidine and fentanyl on airway reflexes and hemodynamic responses to tracheal extubation in patients undergoing rhinoplasty.

METHODS: This double-blind, randomized, controlled study was conducted at the Erciyes University Medical Center, Kayseri, Turkey. Patients classified as American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II who were undergoing elective rhinoplasty between January 2007 and June 2007 with general anesthesia were eligible for study entry. Using a sealed-envelope method, the patients were randomly divided into 2 groups (20 patients per group). Five minutes before extubation, patients received either dexmedetomidine 0.5 μg/kg in 100 mL of isotonic saline or fentanyl 1 μg/kg in 100 mL of isotonic saline intravenously. All patients were extubated by anesthesiologists who were blinded to the study drugs, and all were continuously monitored for 15 minutes after extubation. Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and oxygen saturation using pulse oximetry (SpO2) were recorded before anesthesia, after drug administration, after skin incision, at the completion of surgery, and 1, 5, and 10 minutes before and after tracheal extubation. Any prevalence of laryngospasm, bronchospasm, or desaturation was recorded.

RESULTS: Forty patients (25 men, 15 women; mean [SD] age, 24.86 [7.43] years) were included in the study. Dexmedetomidine was associated with a significant increase in extubation quality compared with fentanyl, reflected in the prevalence of cough after extubation (85% [17/20] vs 30% [6/20] of patients, respectively; P = 0.001). There were no clinically significant decreases in HR, SBP, DBP, or SpO2 after extubation with dexmedetomidine or fentanyl. In the dexmedetomidine group, HR was not significantly increased after extubation; however, in the fentanyl group, HR was significantly increased compared with the preextubation values (all, P = 0.007). HR was significantly higher in the fentanyl group compared with the dexmedetomidine group at 1, 5, and 10 minutes after extubation (all, P = 0.003). Compared with preextubation values, SBP was significantly increased at 1 and 5 minutes after extubation in the dexmedetomidine group (both, P = 0.033) and at 1, 5, and 10 minutes after extubation in the fentanyl group (all, P = 0.033). The postoperative sedation scores and the extubation, awakening, and orientation times were not significantly different between the 2 groups. In the dexmedetomidine group, bradycardia (HR <45 beats/min) was observed in 2 patients and emesis was observed in 2 patients. In the fentanyl group, emesis was observed in 3 patients, bradycardia in 2 patients, vomiting in 1 patient, and shivering in 1 patient; vertigo was reported in 1 patient. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of adverse events between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSION: The findings in the present study suggest that dexmedetomidine 0.5 μg/kg IV, administered before extubation, was more effective in attenuating airway reflex responses to tracheal extubation and maintaining hemodynamic stability without prolonging recovery compared with fentanyl 1 μg/kg IV in these patients undergoing rhinoplasty.

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