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Anaesthesia. 2004 Nov;59(11):1059-63.

Manual versus target-controlled infusions of propofol.

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Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine, The Queen's University of Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.


Target-controlled infusion systems have been shown to result in the administration of larger doses of propofol, which may result in delayed emergence and recovery from anaesthesia. The aim of this study was to investigate if this was due to a difference in the depth of hypnosis (using the bispectral index monitoring) between the manual and target controlled systems of administration. Fifty unpremedicated patients undergoing elective surgery were randomly allocated to have their anaesthesia maintained with manual or target-controlled propofol infusion schemes. In both groups, the rate of propofol administration was adjusted according to standard clinical criteria while bispectral index scores were recorded by an observer not involved in the delivery of anaesthesia. The total dose of propofol used was higher in the target controlled group (mean 9.9 [standard deviation 1.6] compared with 8.1 [1.0] in the manual group [p < 0.0001]). The times to emergence and recovery end-points were comparable between the two groups. The difference in the total dosage of propofol was mainly due to higher rate of propofol administration in the first 30 min in the target controlled infusion group. The bispectral index scores were lower in the target controlled group during this time, being significantly so over the first 15 min of anaesthesia. We conclude that propofol administration by a target controlled infusion system results in the administration of higher doses of propofol and lower bispectral index values mainly in the initial period of anaesthesia.

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