Effect of earplugs on propofol requirement and awareness with recall during spinal anesthesia

Minerva Anestesiol. 2010 Jul;76(7):504-8.


investigator either placed or did not place earplugs into the patients' ears (PLUG or noPLUG groups, respectively). Propofol requirements for stable sedation guided by the bispectral index and incidence of postoperative recall of intraoperative events were assessed in a double-blinded fashion.

Results: We found high but comparable propofol requirements in both groups (PLUG 4.4+/-1.2 vs. noPLUG 4.2+/-1.0 mg kg-1 h-1, p=NS). The incidence of intraoperative awareness was lower in the PLUG compared to the noPLUG group (16 vs. 56%; P<0.001).

Conclusion: Although no sedative-sparing effect could be found in patients who wore earplugs during elective orthopedic surgery under spinal anesthesia, we nevertheless recommend using single-use paraffin wax earplugs. Beside their beneficial effect against potential harmful intraoperative noise, they reduce the incidence of intraoperative awareness with recall.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, Spinal*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ear Protective Devices*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Intraoperative Awareness / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Propofol / administration & dosage*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Propofol