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Spontaneous breathing for managing analgesia during balanced anesthesia with remifentanil and desflurane: a prospective, single center randomized controlled trial

1 Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine and Pain Medicine, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg/Saar, Germany
3 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Martin Bellgardt,
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2045-9912.310606

The main goal of anesthesiology is to achieve the best level of analgesia and a fast recovery of consciousness following anesthesia. The preservation of spontaneous breathing during general anesthesia with anesthetic gases is practiced by many anesthetists. However, very few studies have dealt with these positive properties of volatile anesthetics such as sevoflurane or desflurane. Remifentanil is a very short half-life opiate that combines sufficient intra-operative analgesia with a fast post-operative recovery time. We tested the hypothesis that spontaneous breathing can reduce overdosing with remifentanil during desflurane anesthesia. In this prospective, single center, multiple anesthetist study, 30 patients were randomized into two groups (volume-controlled ventilation mode and spontaneous breathing). The spontaneous breathing group showed a significantly lower post-operative pain level than the volume-controlled ventilation mode group. Furthermore, less remi- fentanil as well as less piritramide was needed in the spontaneous breathing group compared with volume-controlled ventilation mode. It was possible to achieve spontaneous breathing in all patients with 0.6 minimum alveolar concentration desflurane, in order to control the remifentanil rate and prevent an overdose. All spontaneous breathing patients had low intra- and post-operative pain levels and the need for analgesics was equal to or lower than that in the volume-controlled ventilation mode group. By reducing the intra-operative amount of opiates, both the post-operative pain and the amount of post-operative analgesia required can be reduced. A balanced anesthesia with spontaneous intra-operative breathing is needed to determine the required amount of opiates. This study was approved by the Ethic Committee of the Ruhr-University of Bochum (approval No. 2435) in September, 2004.

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