Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anesthesiology. 2005 Feb;102(2):398-402.

Intraoperative remifentanil infusion does not increase postoperative opioid consumption compared with 70% nitrous oxide.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, China.



Remifentanil is commonly used to replace nitrous oxide in general anesthesia to avoid the side effects of the latter. However, there are reports that intraoperative remifentanil infusion can lead to acute opioid tolerance. In this study, the authors tried to determine the dose of remifentanil comparable in efficacy to 70% nitrous oxide and to evaluate its effect on postoperative pain and morphine consumption after colorectal surgery using isoflurane anesthesia.


Sixty adult patients undergoing open colorectal surgery were randomly assigned to receive either remifentanil or 70% nitrous oxide along with isoflurane anesthesia. After morphine analgesia titration in the postanesthesia care unit, patient-controlled analgesia was commenced. Morphine consumption and pain were scored at rest and during cough or movement for 24 h.


The mean remifentanil infusion rate was 0.17 mug . kg . min. The median visual analog pain score on arrival in the postanesthesia care unit was 1 (0-10) in the nitrous oxide group and 3 (0-9) in the remifentanil group (P < 0.05). Otherwise, there was no difference in pain scores at 5, 10, and 15 min and no difference in the total morphine consumption during the stay in the postanesthesia care unit. The two groups had similar total morphine consumption in the first 24 h and pain scores at rest and during movement. The incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting was 10% in both groups. There was no difference in the sedation scores.


The substitution of 70% nitrous oxide with remifentanil at a mean infusion rate of 0.17 mug . kg . minute for colorectal surgery did not affect postoperative opioid consumption.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center