A comparison of the effect on gastric emptying of propofol or dexmedetomidine in critically ill patients: preliminary study

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Abstract

Background:

Propofol and dexmedetomidine are widely used for sedation in the intensive care unit yet there are limited data on its effects on gastric motility. In our preliminary study, we examined whether or not any effect of propofol and dexmedetomidine on gastric emptying is preserved in critically ill patients.

Methods:

Twenty-four critically ill, enterally fed adult patients each received enteral feeding via a nasogastric tube at 50 mL h−1 throughout the 5-h study period. Either propofol 2 mg kg−1 h−1 (n = 12, Group P) or dexmedetomidine 0.2 μg kg−1 h− (n = 12, Group D) was given intravenously over 5 h. Gastric motility was measured indirectly by analysis of the absorption over time of 1.5 g of paracetamol administered into the stomach at the start of the study period. At the beginning and end of the study, residual gastric volume and pH of residual gastric fluid were measured.

Results:

Gastric residual volume measured at the end of propofol infusion (19.33 ± 11.33) was found to be higher when compared with the volume measured before infusion (11.33 ± 4.84) and after dexmedetomidine infusion (9.17 ± 4.54). But, there was no difference between groups in gastric emptying time (AUC120 894.53 ± 499.39 vs. 1113.46 ± 598.09 propofol and dexmedetomidine groups, respectively).

Conclusion:

In our study, gastric residual volume measured at the end of propofol infusion was found to be higher when compared with the volume measured before infusion and after dexmedetomidine infusion. There was no difference between groups in gastric emptying time.

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