Background and aims: In clinical practice, in the majority of patients, recovery from the effect of muscle relaxants is assessed using subjective methods such as head lift, eye-opening, or by sustained hand grip after giving anticholinesterases (neostigmine) at the end of surgery. We planned a prospective observational cohort study to test the hypothesis that objective neuromuscular monitoring can help us in avoiding the use of anticholinesterases for reversal.
Methods: The patients posted for surgery of <2 h duration were included in the study. The cohort of patients was formed on the basis of those who were exposed to objective neuromuscular monitoring of recovery (train-of-four [TOF] ratio of 0.9 or more; exposed group) and the patients who were not exposed to objective neuromuscular monitoring (non-exposed group) acting as a control. Using objective neuromuscular monitoring, the time required for recovery from muscle relaxation when neostigmine was not given for reversal was noted and it was then compared with that of the control group.
Results: A total of 190 patients were enrolled over a period of 3 years. With the use of TOF ratio of 0.9 for extubation, patients safely recovered from neuromuscular blockade, without using neostigmine, with no difference in the mean recovery time (14.48 ± 1.138 min) as compared to the control group (12.14 ± 1.067 min, P = 0.139). There was no incidence of reintubation in post-operative period.
Conclusion: With objective neuromuscular monitoring, we can ensure complete recovery from the neuromuscular blockade while avoiding the use of anticholinesterases.
Keywords: Objective neuromuscular monitoring; recovery duration; reversal agents.