Reversal of neuromuscular block with sugammadex: a comparison of the corrugator supercilii and adductor pollicis muscles in a randomized dose-response study

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2015 Aug;59(7):892-901. doi: 10.1111/aas.12549. Epub 2015 May 12.


Background: Neuromuscular monitoring using the corrugator supercilii muscle is associated with a number of challenges. The aim of this study was to assess reversal of a rocuronium-induced neuromuscular blockade with sugammadex according to monitoring either using the corrugator supercilii muscle or the adductor pollicis muscle. We hypothesized that a larger dose of sugammadex would be required to obtain a train-of-four (TOF) ratio of 1.0 with the corrugator supercilii muscle than with the adductor pollicis muscle.

Methods: Forty patients aged 20-60 years and 40 patients aged ≥ 70 years were enrolled. After induction of anesthesia, we recorded the corrugator supercilii muscle response to facial nerve stimulation and the adductor pollicis muscle response to ulnar nerve stimulation using acceleromyography. All patients received 1 mg/kg rocuronium. When the first twitch (T1) of TOF recovered to 10% of control values at the corrugator supercilii, rocuronium infusion was commenced to maintain a T1 of 10% of the control at the corrugator supercilii. Immediately after discontinuation of rocuronium infusion, 2 mg/kg or 4 mg/kg of sugammadex was administered. The time for recovery to a TOF ratio of 1.0 and the number of patients not reaching a TOF ratio of 1.0 by 5 min at each dose and muscle was recorded.

Results: When neuromuscular block at the corrugator supercilii was maintained at a T1 of 10% of control, that at the adductor pollicis was deep (post-tetanic count ≤ 5). Sugammadex 4 mg/kg completely antagonized neuromuscular block at both muscles within 5 min. The time to a TOF ratio of 1.0 at the adductor pollicis was significantly longer in the group ≥ 70 years than the group 20-60 years (mean (SD): 178 (42.8) s vs. 120 (9.4) s, P < 0.0001). In contrast, 2 mg/kg sugammadex reversed neuromuscular blockade at the corrugator supercilii but not at the adductor pollicis, with 10 patients in the group 20-60 years and 8 patients in the group ≥ 70 years requiring an additional sugammadex (P < 0.05 vs. 4 mg/kg sugammadex).

Conclusion: Sugammadex 4 mg/kg was required to reverse a moderate rocuronium-induced neuromuscular block when the corrugator supercilii muscle is used for monitoring.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Androstanols / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Facial Muscles / drug effects
  • Facial Muscles / innervation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Neuromuscular Blockade*
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Rocuronium
  • Sugammadex
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Cyclodextrins*


  • Androstanols
  • Neuromuscular Nondepolarizing Agents
  • gamma-Cyclodextrins
  • Sugammadex
  • Rocuronium