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Br J Anaesth. 2012 Apr;108(4):682-9. doi: 10.1093/bja/aer503. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Rapid sequence induction and intubation with rocuronium-sugammadex compared with succinylcholine: a randomized trial.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia, Centre of Head and Orthopaedics, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.



An unanticipated difficult airway may arise during rapid sequence induction and intubation (RSII). The aim of the trial was to assess how rapidly spontaneous ventilation could be re-established after RSII. We hypothesized that the time period from tracheal intubation to spontaneous ventilation would be shorter with rocuronium-sugammadex than with succinylcholine.


This randomized and patient- and observer-blinded trial was approved by the regional Ethics Committee and the Danish Medicines Agency. We included elective surgical patients undergoing general anaesthesia for RSII using alfentanil (10 µg kg(-1)), propofol (2 mg kg(-1)), and either succinylcholine (1 mg kg(-1)) or rocuronium (1 mg kg(-1)). Sugammadex (16 mg kg(-1)) was given in the rocuronium group after tracheal intubation. The primary endpoint was the time from correct placement of the tracheal tube to spontaneous ventilation, defined as a respiratory rate of more than 8 bpm and a tidal volume of at least 3 ml kg(-1) for 30 s.


We included 61 patients; of whom, 55 were evaluated for the primary endpoint. The median time from tracheal intubation to spontaneous ventilation was 406 s with succinylcholine and 216 s with rocuronium-sugammadex (P = 0.002). The median time from tracheal intubation to 90% recovery of the first twitch in train-of-four (T(1) 90%) was 518 s with succinylcholine and 168 s with rocuronium-sugammadex (P < 0.0001). Intubation conditions and time to tracheal intubation were not significantly different.


RSII with rocuronium followed by reversal with sugammadex allowed earlier re-establishment of spontaneous ventilation than with succinylcholine.

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