Aims: Anaesthesia is required for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (A-fib) to achieve patient comfort and immobilization to avoid map shifts. This study compared the analgesic and sedative efficacies of dexmedetomidine-remifentanil with those of midazolam-remifentanil for catheter ablation of A-fib.
Methods and results: Ninety patients were randomized to receive either intermittent midazolam boluses (1-2 mg) with 3.6-7.2 µg/kg/h of remifentanil (MR group) or dexmedetomidine 0.2-0.7 µg/kg/h after a loading dose of 1 µg/kg with 1.2-2.4 µg/kg/h of remifentanil (DR group). The sedation level assessed by the Ramsay sedation and bispectral index scores, haemodynamic variables, pain score (10-point numerical scale), and satisfaction levels of the patients and cardiologists (5-point numerical scale) were recorded. The Ramsay sedation score was significantly higher, and the bispectral index score was lower in the DR group (P< 0.001) compared with the MR group starting 10 min after drug administration. The incidence of desaturation (SpO2 < 90%) was significantly greater in the MR group compared with the DR group (15 vs. 1, P < 0.001). The pain score was significantly lower (1.72 ± 1.65 vs. 0.95 ± 1.10, P = 0.021), and the satisfaction levels of interventionists were significantly higher (2.50 ± 0.71 vs. 3.00 ± 0.63, P = 0.001) in the DR group compared with the MR group.
Conclusion: The combination of dexmedetomidine and remifentanil provided deeper sedation, less respiratory depression, better analgesia, and higher satisfaction for the interventionist during catheter ablation of A-fib compared with midazolam plus remifentanil, even at a lower dose of remifentanil.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Catheter ablation; Conscious sedation; Dexmedetomidine; Midazolam; Remifentanil.
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