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Clinical Trial
. 2004 Jun;98(6):1680-5, table of contents.
doi: 10.1213/01.ane.0000112315.58441.50.

The Neuromuscular Effects and Tracheal Intubation Conditions After Small Doses of Succinylcholine

Clinical Trial

The Neuromuscular Effects and Tracheal Intubation Conditions After Small Doses of Succinylcholine

Mohammad I El-Orbany et al. Anesth Analg. .


Succinylcholine 1.0 mg/kg usually produces excellent tracheal intubation conditions in 60 s. Recovery of respiratory muscle function after this dose, however, is not fast enough to forestall oxyhemoglobin desaturation when ventilation cannot be assisted. In this study, we investigated whether smaller doses of succinylcholine can produce satisfactory intubation conditions fast enough to allow rapid sequence induction with a shorter recovery time. Anesthesia was induced with fentanyl/propofol and maintained by propofol infusion and N(2)O in O(2). After the induction, 115 patients were randomly allocated to five groups according to the dose of succinylcholine (0.3 mg/kg, 0.4 mg/kg, 0.5 mg/kg, 0.6 mg/kg, or 1.0 mg/kg). Evoked adductor pollicis responses to continuous 1-Hz supramaximal ulnar nerve stimulation were recorded using acceleromyography. Tracheal intubation conditions were graded 60 s after succinylcholine administration. Onset time, maximal twitch depression, time to initial twitch detection after paralysis, and to 10%, 25%, 50%, and 90% twitch height recovery were recorded. Time to initial diaphragmatic movement as well as time to resumption of regular spontaneous respiratory movements were calculated. Onset times ranged between 82 s and 52 s, decreasing with increasing doses of succinylcholine but not differing between 0.6 and 1 mg/kg. Maximum twitch depression was similar after 0.5, 0.6, and 1 mg/kg (98.2%-100%). Recoveries of twitch height and apnea time were dose-dependent. Intubation conditions were often unacceptable after 0.3- and 0.4-mg/kg doses. Acceptable intubation conditions were achieved in all patients receiving a 0.5, 0.6, and 1 mg/kg dose of succinylcholine. Intubation conditions in patients receiving 0.6 and 1 mg/kg were identical, whereas times to T(1) = 50% and 90% and time to regular spontaneous reservoir bag movements were significantly shorter in the 0.6-mg/kg dose group (5.78, 7.25, and 4.0 min, respectively) versus patients receiving 1 mg/kg (8.55, 10.54, and 6.16 min, respectively). The use of 0.5 to 0.6 mg/kg of succinylcholine can produce acceptable intubation conditions 60 s after administration. The conditions achieved after 0.6 mg/kg are similar to those after 1.0 mg/kg. These smaller doses are associated with faster twitch recovery and shorter apnea time.

Implications: In normal healthy patients, succinylcholine 0.6 mg/kg produces clinical intubation conditions identical to the traditional 1.0-mg/kg dose but is associated with a shorter recovery time.

Comment in

  • Will succinylcholine ever disappear?
    Miller R. Miller R. Anesth Analg. 2004 Jun;98(6):1674-5. doi: 10.1213/01.ane.0000126935.87196.4c. Anesth Analg. 2004. PMID: 15155326 No abstract available.

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