Target-controlled infusion for remifentanil in vascular patients improves hemodynamics and decreases remifentanil requirement

Anesth Analg. 2003 Jan;96(1):33-8, table of contents. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200301000-00008.


Remifentanil is a potent ultra-short-acting opioid, which permits rapid emergence. However, remifentanil is expensive and may have detrimental effects on hemodynamics in case of overdose. Target-controlled infusion (TCI) permits adapting infusion to pharmacokinetic models. In this prospective randomized study, we compared intra- and postoperative hemodynamics, remifentanil requirement during anesthesia, and postoperative morphine requirement in patients scheduled for carotid surgery, and receiving either continuous IV weight-adjusted infusion of remifentanil (RIVA) or TCI for remifentanil (TCIR). Forty-six patients were enrolled in this study: all were anesthetized by using TCI for propofol. Twenty-three received RIVA (0.5 micro g. kg(-1) x min(-1)) for the induction of anesthesia and endotracheal intubation, with the infusion rate decreased to 0.25 micro g x kg(-1) x min(-1) after intubation, then adapted by step of 0.05 micro g x kg(-1) x min(-1) according to hemodynamics. Twenty-three patients received TCIR (Minto model, Rugloop), with an effect-site concentration at 4 ng/mL during induction, then adapted by step of 1 ng/mL according to hemodynamics. All patients received atracurium and a 50% mixture of N(2)O/O(2). Hemodynamic variables were recorded each minute. The number and duration of hemodynamic events were collected, and total doses of anesthetics (remifentanil and propofol) and vasoactive drugs were noted in both groups of patients. Data were analyzed by using unpaired t-tests. RIVA was significantly associated with more frequent episodes of intraoperative hypotension (16 versus 6, P < 0.001) and more frequent episodes of postoperative hypertension and/or tachycardia requiring more frequent administration of beta-adrenergic blockers (16 vs 10, P < 0.04) in comparison with TCIR. The need for morphine titration was not significantly different between groups. TCIR led to a significantly smaller requirement of remifentanil (700 +/- 290 versus 1390 +/- 555 micro g, P < 0.001) without difference in propofol requirement. This prospective randomized study demonstrated that, during carotid endarterectomy, in comparison with patients receiving remifentanil using continuous RIVA, TCI results in less hypotensive episodes during the induction of anesthesia, in fewer episodes of tachycardia and/or hypertension and a smaller beta-adrenergic blocker requirement during recovery, and a decrease in remifentanil requirement. Recommendations to prefer TCI for remifentanil administration during carotid endarterectomy may be justified.

Implications: Remifentanil for intraoperative analgesia in carotid artery surgery is associated with a better stability in perioperative hemodynamics when administered in target-controlled infusion compared with continuous weight-adjusted infusion. This may be related to a smaller requirement of this drug when using target-controlled infusion, as well as a smooth mode of administration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / chemically induced
  • Hypotension / epidemiology
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage*
  • Piperidines / adverse effects
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remifentanil
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Piperidines
  • Remifentanil