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The time-course of action and tracheal intubating conditions of rocuronium and succinylcholine under intravenous anesthesia with propofol, alfentanil, and nitrous oxide were studied in 30 patients undergoing outpatient surgery. The neuromuscular effects of both drugs were quantified by recording the indirectly evoked twitch response of the adductor pollicis muscle after ulnar nerve stimulation (0.1 Hz, 0.2 ms supramaximal stimuli). Patients were given either 0.6 mg/kg rocuronium (n = 20) or 1 mg/kg succinylcholine (n = 10) intravenously. Sixty seconds after the administration of the muscle relaxant, the trachea was intubated and the intubating conditions were scored by a “blinded” assessor. Intubating conditions were not different (P = 0.34) between the rocuronium and succinylcholine groups. The onset and duration of neuromuscular blockade were shorter with succinylcholine than with rocuronium. The depression of the twitch response to 5% of control value occurred in 0.8 ± 0.1 min with 1 mg/kg succinylcholine and 1.2 ± 0.5 min with 0.6 mg/kg rocuronium (P < 0.01). The recovery of the twitch response to 25%, 75%, and 90% of its control value was shorter after succinylcholine (P < 0.001) and occurred at 8.1 ± 2.6, 10.3 ± 3.9, 11.3 ± 4.6 and 25.3 ± 5.0, 33.1 ± 5.9, 36.1 ± 6.3 min after succinylcholine and rocuronium, respectively. Also the time required for spontaneous recovery from 25% to 75% of the control twitch response was significantly shorter (P < 0.001) after succinylcholine (2.2 ± 1.4 min) than after rocuronium (7.8 ± 2.1 min). It is concluded that in spite of the pharmacodynamic differences between succinylcholine and rocuronium, the intubating conditions after administration of both compounds are similar and develop at the same rate.