Use of neuromuscular blockers and neostigmine for general anesthesia and its association with neuraxial blockade: A retrospective study

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Abstract

This research aimed to assess the use of neuromuscular blockers (NMB) and its reversal, associated or not with neuraxial blockade, after general anesthesia.

This retrospective study analyzed 1295 patients that underwent surgery with general anesthesia at Prof. Dr. José Aristodemo Pinotti Hospital in 2013. The study included patients aged >1 year, with complete, readable medical charts and anesthetic records.

Rocuronium (ROC) was the most used NMB (96.7%), with an initial dose of 0.60 (0.52–0.74) mg/kg and total dose of 0.38 (0.27–0.53) mg/kg/h. In 24.3% of the cases, neuraxial blockade was associated with a significantly longer anesthesia (P  < .001) than in cases without neuraxial block, regardless of technique (total intravenous (TIV) vs intravenous and inhalational (IV+IN)). In 71.9% of the cases, a single dose of NMB was used. Patients under TIV general anesthesia associated with neuraxial blockade had a lower total dose of ROC (mg/kg/h) in comparison with TIV GA alone (0.30 (0.23–0.39) and 0.42 (0.30–0.56) mg/kg/h, respectively, P  < .001). The same was observed for patients under IV+IN GA (0.32 (0.23–0.41) and 0.43 (0.31–0.56) mg/kg/h, respectively, P  < .001). The duration of anesthesia was longer according to increasing number of additional NMB doses (P  < .001). Dose of neostigmine was 2.00 (2.00–2.00) mg or 29.41 (25.31–33.89) μg/kg. The interval between neostigmine and extubation was >30 minutes in 10.9% of cases.

The most widely used NMB was ROC. Neuroaxial blockade (spinal or epidural) was significantly associated with reduced total dose of ROC (mg/kg/h) during general anesthesia, even in the absence of neuromuscular monitoring and regardless of general anesthetic technique chosen. In most cases, neostigmine was used to reverse neuromuscular block. The prolonged interval between neostigmine and extubation (>30 minutes) was neither associated with total doses of ROC or neostigmine, nor with the time of NMB administration. This study corroborates the important role of quantitative neuromuscular monitors and demonstrates that neuraxial blockade is associated with reduced total ROC dose. Further studies are needed to evaluate the possible role of neuraxial blockade in reducing the incidence of postoperative residual curarization.

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