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Can J Anaesth. 1992 Nov;39(9):938-43.

Anaesthetic technique does not influence postoperative bowel function: a comparison of propofol, nitrous oxide and isoflurane.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital Linköping, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of propofol, nitrous oxide and isoflurane on recovery, postoperative bowel function and postoperative complications after major gastrointestinal surgery. Sixty patients undergoing elective colonic operations were included in the study. They were randomly allocated to anaesthesia with isoflurane-nitrous oxide, propofol-air, or propofol-nitrous oxide, with fentanyl and vecuronium being used in all three groups. The same anaesthetic and surgical teams performed all the operations. The postoperative course was judged once each day by the Acute Physiology Score (APS) based on the Apache II classification, passage of gas, tolerance of enteral feeding, hospital stay and complications up to 30 days after surgery. The demographic data, magnitude of operation, duration of operation, intraoperative blood loss, and post-operative analgesic needs were similar in the groups. In all groups the APS was normal by median day 1 (range 1-7). A similar impairment of bowel function after operation, with passage of gas median 3 (1-6) days after surgery and tolerance of enteral intake median day 5 (1-10), was found in all groups. The incidence of complications and the length of postoperative hospital stay, median 11 (6-45) days, did not differ among the groups. It is concluded that overall recovery, bowel function, postoperative hospital stay, and complications were not influenced by the anaesthetic technique.

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