The impact of deep versus standard neuromuscular block on intraoperative safety during laparoscopic surgery: an international multicenter randomized controlled double-blind strategy trial - EURO-RELAX TRIAL

Trials. 2021 Oct 26;22(1):744. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05638-2.


Background: Muscle relaxants are routinely used during anesthesia to facilitate endotracheal intubation and to optimize surgical conditions. However, controversy remains about the required depth of neuromuscular block (NMB) needed for optimal surgical working conditions and how this relates to other outcomes. For instance, a deep neuromuscular block yields superior surgical working conditions compared to a standard NMB in laparoscopic surgery, however, a robust association to other (safety) outcomes has not yet been established.

Methods: Trial design: an international multicenter randomized controlled double-blind strategy trial. Trial population: 922 patients planned for elective, laparoscopic or robotic, abdominal surgery.

Intervention: Patients will be randomized to a deep NMB (post-tetanic count 1-2 twitches) or standard care (single-dose muscle relaxant administration at induction and repeated only if warranted by surgical team). Main trial endpoints: Primary endpoint is the difference in incidence of intraoperative adverse events during laparoscopic surgery graded according to ClassIntra® classification (i.e., ClassIntra® grade ≥ 2) between both groups. Secondary endpoints include the surgical working conditions, 30-day postoperative complications, and patients' quality of recovery.

Discussion: This trial was designed to analyze the effect of deep neuromuscular block compared to standard neuromuscular block on intra- and postoperative adverse events in patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery.

Trial registration: NCT04124757 (EURO-RELAX); registration URL: , registered on October 11th, 2019.

Keywords: ClassIntra® grade; Deep neuromuscular block; Monitoring; Neuromuscular; Surgical working conditions.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Neuromuscular Blockade* / adverse effects

Associated data