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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 1991 Apr;35(3):221-6.

Postoperative patient-controlled analgesia with sufentanil: analgesic efficacy and minimum effective concentrations.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care, University of Cologne, FRG.


Sufentanil has so far seldom been used for intravenous postoperative patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), and the resulting serum concentrations have not yet been determined. Forty ASA I-III patients recovering from major gynecological operations were investigated to evaluate analgesic efficacy, side effects, patient acceptance and threshold concentrations of sufentanil in serum during the early postoperative period, using the On-Demand Analgesia Computer (ODAC). Following an individualized intravenous loading dose of 19.1 +/- 35.7 micrograms (mean +/- 1 s.d.), sufentanil demand doses were 6 micrograms with a concurrent infusion of 1.15 micrograms/h and a maximum hourly dose of 40 micrograms/h; the lockout time was set to 1 min. The duration of PCA was 17.3 +/- 2.1 h. During this time 16 +/- 11 demands per patient were recorded, resulting in an average sufentanil consumption of 131.1 +/- 69.4 micrograms or 7.5 +/- 3.7 micrograms/h (including loading dose). analgesia was mostly judged good. Side effects were only of minor intensity. Sufentanil proved to be about 2.2 to 3.8 times as potent an analgesic as fentanyl when both analgesic effect and duration were considered. Minimum effective sufentanil serum concentration (MEC) as determined by radioimmunoassay varied greatly and could be best described by a log-normal distribution (range less than 0.01-0.56 ng/ml, median 0.024 ng/ml). Intraindividual MEC variability was slightly lower than intersubject variability (76.0 vs. 84.8%). It is concluded that sufentanil is suitable for postoperative PCA. To get into the therapeutic window for analgesia, a serum sufentanil concentration of more than 0.03 ng/ml seems to be necessary.

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