A comparison of the effect on gastric emptying of alfentanil or morphine given during anaesthesia for minor surgery

Anaesthesia. 1994 Feb;49(2):155-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1994.tb03376.x.


Twenty patients, scheduled for minor gynaecological surgery, were studied. Anaesthesia was induced with propofol and maintained with oxygen, nitrous oxide and enflurane. Patients were randomly allocated to two groups: group 1 were given alfentanil 0.2 mg; group 2 were given morphine 5 mg. The rate of gastric emptying was measured indirectly by the paracetamol absorption technique. The results showed that morphine caused greater delay in gastric emptying compared with alfentanil (p < 0.05). The observed effect on gastric emptying rate may potentially affect the risk of peri-operative regurgitation and aspiration. This study provides further evidence that in short day-case procedures, when oral medication may be required postoperatively, alfentanil may be preferable to morphine as an intra-operative opioid.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / blood
  • Adult
  • Alfentanil / pharmacology*
  • Analgesia / methods
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Middle Aged
  • Minor Surgical Procedures*
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Alfentanil
  • Acetaminophen
  • Morphine