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A comparison of anaesthesia using remifentanil combined with either isoflurane, enflurane or propofol in patients undergoing gynaecological laparoscopy, varicose vein or arthroscopic surgery

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Anaesthesia comprising remifentanil plus isoflurane, enflurane or propofol was randomly evaluated in 285, 285 and 284 patients, respectively, undergoing short-procedure surgery.


Anaesthesia was induced with propofol (0.5 mg · kg-1 and 10 mg · 10 s-1), and a remifentanil bolus (1 μg · kg-1) and infusion at 0.5 μg · g-1 · min-1. Five minutes after intubation, remifentanil infusion was halved and 0.5 MAC of isoflurane or enflurane, or propofol at 100 μg · kg-1 · min-1 were started and titrated for maintenance.


Patient demography and anaesthesia duration were similar between the groups. Surgery was performed as daycases (52%) or inpatients (48%). The median times (5–7 min) to extubation and postoperative recovery were similar between the groups. Responses to tracheal intubation (15% vs 8%) and skin incision (13% vs 7%) were significantly greater in the total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) group (P<0.05). Fewer patients given remifentanil and isoflurane (21%) or enflurane (19%) experienced ≥1 intraoperative stress response compared to the TIVA group (28%) (P<0.05). Median times to qualification for and actual recovery room discharge were 0.5–0.6 h and 1.1–1.2 h, respectively. The most common remifentanil-related symptoms were muscle rigidity (6–7%) at induction, hypotension (3–5%) and bradycardia (1–4%) intraoperatively and, shivering (6–7%), nausea and vomiting postoperatively. Nausea (7%) and vomiting (3%) were significantly lower with TIVA compared with inhaled anaesthetic groups (14–15% and 6–8%, respectively; P<0.05).


Anaesthesia combining remifentanil with volatile hypnotics or TIVA with propofol was effective and well tolerated. Times of extubation, postanaesthesia recovery and recovery room discharge were rapid, consistent and similar for all three regimens.

Keywords: -opioid receptor agonist; Anesthesia; TIVA; enflurane; inpatient; isoflurane; outpatient; propofol; recovery; remifentanil; volatile

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anaesthesia, Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 2: Department of Anaesthesia, AZ SINT-JAN OCMW, Brugge, Belgium, 3: Anaesthesiologie, Universitaets-Krankenhaus Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, 4: Anestesiavdelingen, Rikshopitalet, Oslo, Norway, 5: Hospital da Trinidade, Porto, Portugal, 6: Medical Department Glaxo Wellcome A/S, Oslo, Norway, 7: Hospital and Critical Care, Glaxo Wellcome Research and Development, Greenford, Middlesex, UK

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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