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Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2011 Dec;58(10):578-82.

[Rocuronium vs vecuronium for neuromuscular block during transsternal thymectomy in the patient with myasthenia gravis].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Especialista en Anestesiología y Reanimación, Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico "Hermanos Ameijeiras", Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba.



Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease marked by high titers of immunoglobulin G antibodies, which accelerate destruction of cholinergic receptors and interfere with neuromuscular transmission. This study aimed to determine whether neuromuscular function under a rocuronium block is different from function under a vecuronium block patients with myasthenia gravis and to describe extubation conditions in the operating room or the intensive care unit.


Randomized, single-blind clinical trial enrolling patients with myasthenia gravis type IIa and IIb according to the classification of Osserman. The patients were randomized to groups receiving a vecuronium or rocuronium block. We recorded arterial oxygen saturation, capnogram, heart rate, noninvasive blood pressure, electrocardiogram, and neuromuscular function by accelerometry. During surgery 25% of the total dose of the neuromuscular blocking agent was administered. Maintenance was with a continuous infusion of propofol and fentanyl. All patients were extubated according to clinical criteria, confirmed by train-of-four ratio (T4/T1).


The mean (SD) time elapsed before recovery of 25% of neuromuscular function was 53.1 (1.9) min in the rocuronium group and 56.2 (0.8) min in the vecuronium group (P = .01). Time elapsed before recovery of 90% of function was 71.3 (2.7) min in the rocuronium group and 96.3 (1.2) min in the vecuronium group (P = .001). Twenty-eight of the 30 patients in the rocuronium group (93.3%) were extubated with recovery of 89.1% (0.5%) of twitch response and a T4/T1 ratio of 0.83. The difference between groups was statistically significant (P = .01). In no case was it necessary to administer a maintenance dose or reverse the block.


The rocuronium block had a better profile than the vecuronium block in this study. With this blocking agent we were able to circumvent respiratory depression, with its immediate consequences, and thus meet the main clinical criterion when anesthetizing patients with myasthenia gravis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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