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Acta Otolaryngol. 2003 Sep;123(7):812-6.

Cochlear blood flow modifications induced by anaesthetic drugs in middle ear surgery: comparison between sevoflurane and propofol.

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Department of Clinical Physiopathology, II Chair of ENT, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.



Because it is necessary to maintain controlled hypotension during middle ear surgery in order to avoid bleeding and as it is known that cochlear blood flow (CBF) is related to blood pressure (BP), it is useful to evaluate CBF modifications induced by anaesthetics in order to prevent cochlear damage. The aim of this paper is to evaluate, using laser Doppler flowmetry, which anaesthetic drug, out of sevoflurane and propofol, has the smallest effect on CBF.


Twenty consenting adult patients scheduled for myringoplasty under general anaesthesia for simple tympanic membrane perforation were studied. Patients were divided into two groups: the first group was treated with sevoflurane and the second with propofol. For the first group, CBF measurement was carried out on three different occasions: (i) at a basal low drug dosage; (ii) having increased the drug dosage to a higher level; and (iii) having reduced the drug dosage to the basal low level again. For the second group, CBF measurement was carried out on three different occasions: (i) 10 min after injecting a bolus of propofol; (ii) immediately after a second propofol injection; and (iii) 10 min after a third injection of propofol. A probe was placed over the promontory in order to measure CBF levels.


In the subjects treated with sevoflurane, after having increased the drug dosage, BP decreased significantly while CBF did not change significantly. In the subjects treated with propofol we recorded a significant reduction in BP, as well as a decrease in CBF.


The results obtained show that sevoflurane has a hypotensive effect without modifying CBF, while propofol, although having a similar effect on BP to sevoflurane, has less of a protective effect on inner ear microcirculation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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