A Comparison of Propofol and Remifentanil Target-Controlled Infusions to Facilitate Fiberoptic Nasotracheal Intubation

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INTRODUCTION:Successful fiberoptic intubation requires both patient comfort and good intubating conditions. In this study we compared the efficacy and ease of titration of propofol (P) and remifentanil (R) target-controlled infusions (TCI) during fiberoptic intubation.METHODS:Sixty patients requiring fiberoptic nasotracheal intubation were randomized to receive (P) or (R) effect-site TCI. After topical anesthesia, TCI was set to 2.5 μg/mL (P) or 1.5 ng/mL (R) then titrated by 1 μg/mL (P) or 0.5 ng/mL (R) increments according to patient reactions. Targets and level of sedation were recorded at each step as well as total dose, number of adjustments, intubating conditions, discomfort, and recall assessed after surgery.RESULTS:Intubation duration, success rate, and number of increments did not differ between groups. Intubating conditions were good in both groups, with a final target of 3.9 ± 1.4 μg/mL (P) or 2.4 ± 0.8 ng/mL (R) (total dose 142 ± 55 mg and 77 ± 27 μg, respectively). There was no difference in minimal Spo2 and maximal end-tidal CO2 after intubation. No laryngospasm or significant hemodynamic instability was observed. There was one major hypoxemia due to obstructive apnea in group P. Patients in group P were significantly more sedated and less cooperative. Recall was more frequent in group R, whereas pain scores were equally low in both groups.CONCLUSION:Both R and P TCI can be rapidly titrated to achieve good intubating conditions and patient comfort. R allows for more patient cooperation, making it safer when spontaneous ventilation is paramount.

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