Prospective comparison of sevoflurane and desflurane in formerly premature infants undergoing inguinal herniotomy


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Abstract

BackgroundFormerly premature infants having inguinal herniotomy have been at a high risk of postoperative apnoea, newer less soluble anaesthetic agents may reduce this risk.MethodsThirty infants, under 37 weeks gestation and under 47 weeks post-conceptional age, undergoing inguinal herniotomy had an inhalational induction with sevoflurane and were randomly allocated to sevoflurane (group S) or desflurane (group D) for maintenance. All infants received i.v. atracurium 0.5 mg kg−1, rectal acetaminophen 20 mg kg−1 and caudal bupivacaine 0.25% 1 ml kg−1. Infants were monitored for apnoeas (using nasal thermistry and impedance), haemoglobin oxygen desaturations and bradycardias for 12 h before and after operation with an Alice® 4 polysomnograph. Emergence timings were recorded.ResultsThere was no difference between pre- and postoperative incidence of apnoeas in either group, and no group difference between desflurane and sevoflurane in terms of pre- and postoperative ventilatory events or in the number of apnoeas in the postoperative period (nine patients in group D and five patients in group S had apnoeas). Median times to first movement, tracheal extubation, eye opening and first cry were all faster with group D (group D: 3.0, 10.0, 9.0 and 11.0 min and group S: 7.0, 15.1, 13.5 and 16.1 min, respectively). No infant had problems with airway irritation on emergence and no infant required airway intervention for apnoea.ConclusionsInfants wake faster from general anaesthesia when maintained with desflurane as compared with sevoflurane, but no difference in postoperative respiratory events was demonstrated between the groups.

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