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Anesthesiology. 1995 Sep;83(3):535-42.

Effect of fentanyl on the minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in swine.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14850, USA.



Fentanyl is used in anesthetic protocols for swine, but there are no reports on its potency in this species. This study measured the extent to which fentanyl reduces the minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane (MACISO) in swine.


Sixteen swine were randomly assigned to four groups. For each group, baseline MACISO was determined, and three groups received two of three fentanyl infusions as follows: 50 intravenously followed by 100, 50 followed by 200, or 100 followed by 200 (n = 8 for each dosage). A loading dose of fentanyl preceded each infusion. Each infusion was maintained for 60 min before initiating minimum alveolar concentration determination. The infusions were maintained throughout the period of minimum alveolar concentration determination. Plasma fentanyl samples were obtained after 30 min of each infusion, and plasma fentanyl and hemodynamic parameters were obtained immediately before stimulating swine for the final isoflurane concentration used in determining minimum alveolar concentration. A fourth group, control animals, received saline infusions. After each infusion, the MACISO was redetermined. Minimum alveolar concentration was determined using incremental changes in isoflurane concentrations until gross purposeful movement resulted when using a hemostat stimulus applied for 1 min to a rear dewclaw.


MACISO for controls was 2.19 +/- 0.17% (mean +/- SEM) and changed minimally over time (-0.13 +/- 4.77%). MACISO decreased significantly (P < or = 0.01) 24.5 +/- 3.2%, 29.9 +/- 4.8%, and 45.9 +/- 5.5% with fentanyl dosages of 50, 100, and 200, respectively. Corresponding plasma fentanyl concentrations were 14 +/- 1 ng/ml, 26 +/- 3 ng/ml, and 59 +/- 5 ng/ml, respectively. A ceiling effect on reduction of MACISO was not observed. Changes over time or between groups were not observed for arterial blood gas tensions, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, or body temperature.


These fentanyl dosages are larger than those commonly used in humans and other species. Anesthetic protocols using fentanyl for swine should be designed with the knowledge that a fentanyl infusion of 200 contributes approximately a 50% MACISO equivalent.

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