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Br J Anaesth. 2006 Jun;96(6):722-6. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Dexmedetomidine vs midazolam for monitored anaesthesia care during cataract surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, King Abdulaziz University, King Abdulaziz University Hospital PO Box 31648, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.



Cataract surgery is commonly performed under local anaesthesia with midazolam sedation. Dexmedetomidine, a sedative-analgesic, is devoid of respiratory depressant effects, and its use in cataract surgery has not been reported. This double-blind study compared the use of dexmedetomidine and midazolam in patients undergoing cataract surgery.


Forty-four patients undergoing cataract surgery under peribulbar anaesthesia randomly received either i.v. dexmedetomidine 1 microg kg(-1) over 10 min; followed by 0.1-0.7 microg kg(-1) h(-1) i.v. infusion (Group D), or midazolam 20 microg kg(-1) i.v.; followed by 0.5 mg i.v. boluses as required (Group M). Sedation was titrated to a Ramsay sedation score of 3. Mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), readiness for recovery room discharge (time to Aldrete score of 10), and patients' and surgeons' satisfaction (on a scale of 1-7) were determined.


MAP and HR were lower in Group D compared with Group M [86 (se 3) vs 102 (3) mm Hg and 65 (2) vs 72 (2) beats min(-1), respectively] (P<0.05). Group D patients had slightly higher satisfaction with sedation [median (IQR): 6 (6-7) vs 6 (5-7), P<0.05], but delayed readiness for discharge [45 (36-54) vs 21 (10-32) min, P<0.01] compared with patients in Group M. Surgeons' satisfaction was comparable in both groups [5 (4-6) vs 5 (4-6)].


Compared with midazolam, dexmedetomidine does not appear to be suitable for sedation in patients undergoing cataract surgery. While there was a slightly better subjective patient satisfaction, it was accompanied by relative cardiovascular depression and delayed recovery room discharge.

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