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Anesth Analg. 2002 Nov;95(5):1134-41, table of contents.

The effect of lidocaine on early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after coronary artery bypass surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology, First Hospital, Peking University, No. 8 Xishiku Street, Beijing 100034, China.


We investigated the effect of lidocaine on the incidence of cognitive dysfunction in the early postoperative period after cardiac surgery. One-hundred-eighteen patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were randomized to receive either lidocaine (1.5 mg/kg bolus followed by a 4 mg/min infusion during operation and 4 mg/kg in the priming solution of CPB) or placebo. A battery of nine neuropsychological tests was administered before and 9 days after surgery. A postoperative deficit in any test was defined as a decline by more than or equal to the preoperative SD of that test in all patients. Any patient showing a deficit in two or more tests was defined as having postoperative cognitive dysfunction. Eighty-eight patients completed pre- and postoperative neuropsychological tests. Plasma lidocaine concentrations (microg/mL) were 4.78 +/- 0.52 (mean +/- SD), 5.38 +/- 0.95, 4.52 +/- 0.39, 5.82 +/- 0.76, and 7.10 +/- 1.09 at 10 min before CPB; 10, 30, and 60 min of CPB; and at the end of operation, respectively. The proportion of patients showing postoperative cognitive dysfunction was significantly reduced in the lidocaine group compared with that in the placebo group (18.6% versus 40.0%; P = 0.028). We conclude that intraoperative administration of lidocaine decreased the occurrence of cognitive dysfunction in the early postoperative period.


Postoperative cognitive dysfunction is a commonly recognized complication after cardiac surgery. Intraoperative cerebral microembolism and hypoperfusion have been proposed to be the major mechanisms. The results of this study show that intraoperative administration of lidocaine decreased the occurrence of early postoperative cognitive dysfunction, perhaps because of its neuroprotective effects.

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