Haemodynamic effects of remifentanil during induction of general anaesthesia with propofol. A randomised trial

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2024 May;68(5):601-609. doi: 10.1111/aas.14394. Epub 2024 Feb 24.


Background: Remifentanil may have a dose-dependent haemodynamic effect during the induction of general anaesthesia combined with propofol. Our objective was to investigate whether systolic arterial blood pressure (SAP) was reduced to a greater extent when the remifentanil dose was increased.

Methods: This randomised, double-blind, dose-controlled study was conducted at the Day Surgery Unit of Haugesund Hospital, Norway. Ninety-nine healthy women scheduled for gynaecological surgery were randomly allocated in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive remifentanil induction with a low, medium or high dose corresponding to maximum effect-site concentrations (Ce) of 2, 4 and 8 ng/mL. The induction dose of propofol was 1.8 mg/kg, with a Ce of 2.9 μg/mL. Anaesthesia was induced using target-controlled infusion. After 150 s of sedation, a bolus of remifentanil and propofol was administered. Baseline was defined as 55-5 s before the bolus dose, and the total observation time was 450 s. We used beat-to-beat haemodynamic monitoring with LiDCOplus. The primary outcome variable was the maximum decrease in SAP within 5 min after bolus administration of remifentanil and propofol. Absolute and relative changes from baseline to minimal values and the area under the curve (AUC) were used as effect measures. Comparisons of groups were performed using analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results: Median remifentanil doses were 0.75, 1.5 and 3.0 μg/kg in the low-, medium- and high-dose groups, respectively. The absolute changes (mean ± standard deviation) in SAP in the low-, medium- and high-dose groups of remifentanil were -39 ± 9.6 versus -43 ± 9.1, and -41 ± 10 mmHg, respectively. No difference (95% confidence interval) in the absolute change in SAP was observed between the groups (ANOVA, p = .29); medium versus low dose 3.7 (-2.0, 9.4) mmHg, and high versus medium dose -2.2 (-8.0; 3.5) mmHg. The relative changes from baseline to minimum SAP values were -30% versus -32% versus -32% (p = .52). The between-group differences in the AUC were not statistically significant. Relative changes in heart rate (-20% vs. -21% vs. -21%), stroke volume (-19% vs. -16% vs. -16%), cardiac output (-32% vs. -32% vs. -32%), systemic vascular resistance (-24% vs. -27% vs. -28%), and AUC were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: This trial demonstrated major haemodynamic changes during the induction of anaesthesia with remifentanil and propofol. However, we did not observe any statistically significant differences between low, medium or high doses of remifentanil when using continuous invasive high-accuracy beat-to-beat monitoring.

Keywords: haemodynamics; physiological effect of drugs; propofol; remifentanil.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, General
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Propofol* / pharmacology
  • Remifentanil / pharmacology


  • Remifentanil
  • Propofol
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Piperidines