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Effects on the bispectral index during medium-high dose fentanyl induction with or without propofol supplement

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The search for a drug-independent monitor to determine depth of anaesthesia and hypnosis continues. The bispectral analysis (BIS) of the EEG correlates well with the clinical dose–response of hypnotic drugs during induction, but the effect on BIS of an opiate induction, as for coronary bypass surgery, is not known.


Fourteen patients scheduled for elective coronary bypass surgery were studied. BIS was recorded during induction in 7 patients receiving 10 μg/kg fentanyl without any hypnotic agent and in 7 patients receiving 0.5 mg/kg propofol before the fentanyl dose.


The effect of fentanyl was very variable both regarding BIS and clinical response. Five of the 7 patients that received only fentanyl lost their response to verbal command within 8 min. BIS values at loss of response varied between 45 and 94. One patient remained awake with BIS 43. All 7 patients receiving propofol before the fentanyl dose lost their response to verbal command within 5 min. BIS values at the time for loss of response varied between 78 and 98.


Loss of response to verbal command when a medium-high dose of fentanyl is used for induction cannot be distinguished from wakefulness with adequate sensitivity by BIS. The current BIS algorithm seems not to accurately reflect the hypnotic effects of fentanyl.

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Keywords: Bispectral index; awareness; coronary artery bypass grafting; fentanyl; opiates; propofol

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Department of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetics and Intensive Care, Karolinska Hospital and Department of Anaesthetics, Sabbotsberg Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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