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Anesthesiology. 1992 Mar;76(3):342-53.

Postoperative myocardial ischemia. Therapeutic trials using intensive analgesia following surgery. The Study of Perioperative Ischemia (SPI) Research Group.

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Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco 94121.


Recent data suggest that postbypass and postoperative myocardial ischemia are related to adverse cardiac outcome following myocardial revascularization. Therapeutic trials to suppress postoperative ischemia are warranted. Because anesthetics can suppress a variety of physiologic responses to stress as well as myocardial ischemia intraoperatively, we examined whether use of intensive analgesia in the stressful postoperative period could decrease postoperative ischemia. In 106 patients undergoing elective myocardial revascularization, we standardized the anesthetic prior to bypass (sufentanil 5-10 micrograms/kg [induction] and 4.2-6.0 [infusion] supplemented with up to 0.5 mg/kg of diazepam). During bypass, patients were randomly assigned to receive either morphine sulfate (group M, n = 54, up to 2 mg/kg) or sufentanil (group S, n = 52, 1 microgram/kg and 1 In the intensive care unit (ICU), group M received low-dose analgesia (morphine sulfate 1-10 mg intravenously every 30 min, average dose = 2.2 +/- 2.1 mg/h), while group S continued to receive intensive analgesia (infusion of sufentanil at 1 Both groups received supplemental midazolam in the ICU (group M = 1.1 +/- 1.1 mg/h; group S = 0.6 +/- 0.6 mg/h; P = 0.01). All analgesic and sedative-hypnotic medications were discontinued at 18 hours following myocardial revascularization. Using continuous two-channel electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring (CC5 and CM5), we documented and characterized ECG changes consistent with ischemia during the preoperative, intraoperative (pre- and postbypass), and postoperative (on- and off-treatment) periods. The total ECG monitoring time was 8,486 h, averaging 81 h per patient. During the prebypass (anesthetic control) period, groups M and S had a similar incidence, but group S episodes were more severe: maximum ST-segment change (median), S versus M: -1.8 mm versus -1.4 mm (P = 0.04). During the postbypass period, both groups had a similar incidence of ischemia, but episodes in group S were less severe: maximum ST-segment change, S versus M: -1.8 mm versus -2.7 mm (P = 0.0005). During the ICU-on-therapy period, the incidence of ischemic episodes was less in group S patients, and the severity was less: area-under-the-ST-time curve, S versus M: -21 mm.min versus -161 mm.min (P = 0.05). After discontinuation of the drug regimen in the ICU, the incidence and severity of ischemic episodes was similar. The incidence of hypotension, hypertension, and tachycardia was similar in both groups in both the intraoperative and ICU periods.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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