Publication information

Bibliographic entry:

Coles JP, Leary TS, Monteiro JN, Brazier P, Summors A, Doyle P, Matta BF, Gupta AK (2000) “Propofol anesthesia for craniotomy: a double-blind comparison of remifentanil, alfentanil, and fentanyl.” J Neurosurg Anesthesiol 12(1):15-20


For patients undergoing craniotomy, it is desirable to have stable and easily controllable hemodynamics during intense surgical stimulation. However, rapid postoperative recovery is essential to assess neurologic function. Remifentanil, an ultra-short-acting mu-opioid receptor agonist, may be the ideal agent to confer the above characteristics. In this prospective randomized study, we compared the hemodynamic stability, recovery characteristics, and the dose of propofol required for maintaining anesthesia supplemented with an infusion of remifentanil, alfentanil, or fentanyl in 34 patients scheduled for supratentorial craniotomy. With routine monitors in place, anesthesia was induced with propofol (2-3 mg/kg), atracurium (0.5 mg/kg), and either remifentanil (1 microg/kg), alfentanil (10 microg/kg), or fentanyl (2 micro/kg). The lungs were ventilated with O2/air to mild hypocapnia. Anesthesia was maintained with infusions of propofol (50-100 microg/kg/min) and either remifentanil (0.2 microg/kg/min), alfentanil (20 microg/kg/h), or fentanyl (2 microg/kg/h). There were no significant differences among the groups in the dose of propofol maintenance required, heart rate, or mean arterial pressure. However, the time to eye opening (minutes) was significantly shorter in the remifentanil compared to the alfentanil group (6+/-3; 21+/-14; P = 0.0027) but not the fentanyl group (15+/-9). We conclude that remifentanil is an appropriate opioid to use in combination with propofol during anesthesia for supratentorial craniotomy.

Online links:Available online from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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Publication type:Randomized Controlled Trial
Publication status:In print
Publication date:2000 Jan
Record status:PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE