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J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2011 Dec;25(6):917-25. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2011.03.185. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Target-controlled dosing of remifentanil during cardiac surgery reduces postoperative hyperalgesia.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98195-6540, USA.



One of the strategies to attenuate opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH) may be to decrease intraoperative doses of opioids by using target-controlled infusion (TCI).


Double-blind and randomized study.


A single university hospital.


Forty American Society of Anesthesiologists II to III patients scheduled for elective cardiac surgery.


patients were randomized to 1 of the 2 groups: 1 group received an infusion of intraoperative remifentanil using TCI (target: 7 ng/mL), and the 2nd one was given an intraoperative continuous infusion (CI) (0.3 μg/kg/min). The anesthestic protocol and postoperative pain management were the same in both groups. The extent of mechanical dynamic hyperalgesia on the middle line perpendicular to the wound was considered the primary endpoint. The secondary endpoints were other results of dynamic and punctuate hyperalgesia until postoperative day 7, visual analog scale (VAS) and verbal rating scale (VRS) scores, and total morphine consumption until postoperative day 2.


Morphometric and demographic characteristics and duration of surgery were comparable in both groups. Intraoperative remifentanil consumption was greater in CI than in TCI group (5,329 [1,833] v 3,662 [1,160] μg, p = 0.003). During the first 44 hours, there were no differences in morphine consumption, VAS, and VRS. The extent of hyperalgesia was significantly lower on postoperative days 1, 2, and 4 in the TCI group than in the CI group on the 3 evaluated lines (p < 0.05). Punctuate hyperalgesia evaluating 3 different points was lower in the TCI than in the CI group from postoperative day 1 until postoperative day 7 (p < 0.05).


The intraoperative decrease of opioid consumption when comparing the CI versus TCI mode of administration of remifentanil led to less OIH after cardiac surgery.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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