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Anesth Analg. 1997 Sep;85(3):566-72.

Use of alfentanil and propofol for outpatient monitored anesthesia care: determining the optimal dosing regimen.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 75235-9068, USA.


Propofol and alfentanil are both rapid and short-acting drugs that can be used for sedation and analgesia during monitored anesthesia care (MAC). This study was designed to determine the optimal infusion rates of propofol and alfentanil when administered during local anesthesia. In this randomized, double-blind study, we evaluated the effects of different propofol infusion rates on the alfentanil requirement, level of sedation, intraoperative recall, respiratory and cardiovascular variables, and recovery. Seventy-two consenting ASA physical status I or II female outpatients undergoing breast biopsy procedures with local anesthesia were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups. All patients received midazolam, 2 mg intravenously (I.V.) for premedication. Propofol was infused at 0, 25, 50, or 75 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) during the operation. Sedation was evaluated using the Observer's Assessment of Alertness/Sedation (OAA/S) scale at 5-min intervals by a blinded observer. Two minutes before the infiltration of the local anesthetic solution, a bolus of alfentanil, 2.5 microg/kg I.V., was administered, followed by a maintenance infusion of 0.5 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1). The alfentanil infusion rate was subsequently varied to maintain patient comfort and stable cardiovascular and respiratory function. Pictures were shown at the start of the propofol infusion, upon initiating the alfentanil infusion, and at 45 min after the skin incision to evaluate recall of intraoperative events. Propofol produced dose-dependent increases in the level of sedation (with median OAA/S scores of 2-4, P < 0.05). Higher infusion rates of propofol (50-75 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1)) produced significant amnesia, opioid-sparing effects (alfentanil 0.3 +/- 0.2 vs 0.6 +/- 0.2 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1)), and less postoperative nausea and vomiting (P < 0.05). However, episodes of transient hemoglobin oxygen desaturation were more common in the deeply sedated patients. Thus, in healthy outpatients premedicated with midazolam, 2 mg I.V., a propofol infusion of 25-50 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) in combination with an alfentanil infusion of 0.2-0.4 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) is recommended for sedation and analgesia during MAC in the ambulatory setting.


Sedation is often given during local anesthesia. This study demonstrated that administration of an intravenous anesthetic, propofol, in combination with an opioid infusion (i.e., alfentanil) to provide sedation analgesia and amnesia with a low incidence of side effects, such as nausea and vomiting and respiratory depression in outpatients premedicated with midazolam.

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