A comparison of lidocaine, fentanyl, and esmolol for attenuation of cardiovascular response to laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation

C K Feng, K H Chan, K N Liu, C H Or, T Y Lee
Acta Anaesthesiologica Sinica 1996, 34 (2): 61-7

BACKGROUND: Laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation are known to increase sympathetic activity that may be detrimental to patients with pre-existing ischemic or hypertensive heart diseases. In order to alter the hyperdynamic consequences resulting from intubation during induction of general anesthesia, we chose esmolol, an ultra-short acting cardioselective beta-adrenergic blocker, to attenuate the cardiovascular responses during tracheal intubation in patients undergoing elective surgery. The efficacy of esmolol in this regard was carefully evaluated.

METHODS: Eighty ASA physical status class I or II patients undergoing elective, non-cardiac procedures were included in a randomized, single-blinded study consisting of 4 groups with each group receiving a designated drug: group A received normal saline as control, while group B, group C and group D received lidocaine 2 mg/kg, fentanyl 3 micrograms/kg and esmolol 2 mg/kg, respectively. Monitoring included EKG, pulse oximetry, capnometry and arterial pressure. All patients were premedicated with diazepam 0.1 mg/kg 30 min before induction of general anesthesia. Each designated drug was given upon induction of anesthesia (time zero). Anesthesia was induced with thiopental 5 mg/kg and succinylcholine 1.5 mg/kg, and maintained with N2O, 1% isoflurane in 50% O2 and vecuronium. Intubation was carried out 3 min after the designated drug was given. Heart rate (HR) and systolic arterial blood pressure (SBP) were obtained every min for 10 min after induction. Either chi-square test or analysis of variances (ANOVA) was used for statistical comparison. A p value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: There was no difference in the demographic data among the four groups. After intubation, the incidence of tachycardia (HR > 100/min) was found in 3 of 20 (15%) patients in esmolol group, significantly lower than 17 of 20 (85%) patients in the control group, 15 of 20 (75%) patients in lidocaine group, and 11 of 20 (55%) patients in fentanyl group, respectively (p < 0.05). The incidence of hypertension (SBP > 180 mmHg) was found in 4 of 20 (20%) patients in esmolol group, significantly lower than 16 of 20 (80%) patients in control group and 14 of 20 (70%) patients in lidocaine group, respectively (p < 0.05), but not in 8 of 20 (40%) patients in fentanyl group. Besides, the incidence of hypertension in fentanyl group (40%) was significantly lower than control group (80%; p < 0.05), but not in lidocaine group (70%).

CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study showed that only esmolol could reliably offer protection against the increase in both HR and SBP, low dose of fentanyl (3 micrograms/kg) prevented hypertension but not tachycardia, and 2 mg/kg lidocaine had no effect to blunt adverse hemodynamic responses during laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation.

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