Alkalinized Lidocaine Preloaded Endotracheal Tube Cuffs Reduce Emergence Cough After Brief Surgery: A Prospective Randomized Trial

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Alkalinized lidocaine in the endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff decreases the incidence of cough and throat pain on emergence after surgery lasting more than 2 hours. However, alkalinized lidocaine needs 60–120 minutes to cross the ETT cuff membrane; therefore, its usefulness in shorter duration surgery is unknown. This prospective double-blind randomized controlled trial tested the hypothesis that alkalinized lidocaine would reduce the incidence of emergence cough after surgeries lasting <120 minutes.

METHODS:

After local ethics board approval, American Society of Anesthesiologists I–III patients consented to be randomized into 1 of 2 groups receiving either alkalinized lidocaine (group AL) or saline (group S) to inflate the ETT cuff. Cuffs were prefilled >90 minutes before intubation with either 2 mL of 2% lidocaine and 8 mL of 8.4% bicarbonate (group AL) or 10 mL of normal saline (group S). Cuffs were emptied immediately before intubation. After intubation, either 2 mL of 2% lidocaine (AL) or 2 mL of saline (S) were injected into the cuff. Additional 8.4% bicarbonate (AL) or saline (S) was injected into the cuff until there was no air leak. Anesthesia was maintained using desflurane, rocuronium, and either fentanyl or sufentanil to maintain vital signs within 20% of baseline values. Opioids administered in prophylaxis of extubation cough were proscribed. A standardized “no touch” emergence technique was used. A blinded assessor noted any cough above 0.2 minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of expired desflurane. At 0.2 MAC, once every 30 seconds, the patient was instructed to open his eyes and extubation occurred once a directed response was noted.

RESULTS:

A total of 213 patients were randomized and 100 patients in each group completed the experimental protocol. The incidence of extubation cough in group AL was 12%, significantly lower (1-sided P = .045) than the 22% incidence in group S. The 1-tailed risk ratio for cough in group AL was 0.55 (0–0.94, P = .045). Total amount of opioids administered (P = .194), ETT cuff preloading times (P = .259), and extubation times (P = .331) were not significantly different between groups. The average duration of surgery was 59 ± 28 minutes in group AL and 52 ± 29 minutes in group S (P = .057).

CONCLUSIONS:

Alkalinized lidocaine in the ETT cuff significantly decreased general anesthesia emergence cough after surgeries with an average duration of slightly <1 hour.

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