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1.  Safety and efficacy of analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil versus standard hypnotic-based regimens in intensive care unit patients with brain injuries: a randomised, controlled trial [ISRCTN50308308] 
Critical Care  2004;8(4):R268-R280.
Introduction
This randomised, open-label, observational, multicentre, parallel group study assessed the safety and efficacy of analgesia-based sedation using remifentanil in the neuro-intensive care unit.
Methods
Patients aged 18–80 years admitted to the intensive care unit within the previous 24 hours, with acute brain injury or after neurosurgery, intubated, expected to require mechanical ventilation for 1–5 days and requiring daily downward titration of sedation for assessment of neurological function were studied. Patients received one of two treatment regimens. Regimen one consisted of analgesia-based sedation, in which remifentanil (initial rate 9 μg kg-1 h-1) was titrated before the addition of a hypnotic agent (propofol [0.5 mg kg-1 h-1] during days 1–3, midazolam [0.03 mg kg-1 h-1] during days 4 and 5) (n = 84). Regimen two consisted of hypnotic-based sedation: hypnotic agent (propofol days 1–3; midazolam days 4 and 5) and fentanyl (n = 37) or morphine (n = 40) according to routine clinical practice. For each regimen, agents were titrated to achieve optimal sedation (Sedation–Agitation Scale score 1–3) and analgesia (Pain Intensity score 1–2).
Results
Overall, between-patient variability around the time of neurological assessment was statistically significantly smaller when using remifentanil (remifentanil 0.44 versus fentanyl 0.86 [P = 0.024] versus morphine 0.98 [P = 0.006]. Overall, mean neurological assessment times were significantly shorter when using remifentanil (remifentanil 0.41 hour versus fentanyl 0.71 hour [P = 0.001] versus morphine 0.82 hour [P < 0.001]). Patients receiving the remifentanil-based regimen were extubated significantly faster than those treated with morphine (1.0 hour versus 1.93 hour, P = 0.001) but there was no difference between remifentanil and fentanyl. Remifentanil was effective, well tolerated and provided comparable haemodynamic stability to that of the hypnotic-based regimen. Over three times as many users rated analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil as very good or excellent in facilitating assessment of neurological function compared with the hypnotic-based regimen.
Conclusions
Analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil permitted significantly faster and more predictable awakening for neurological assessment. Analgesia-based sedation with remifentanil was very effective, well tolerated and had a similar adverse event and haemodynamic profile to those of hypnotic-based regimens when used in critically ill neuro-intensive care unit patients for up to 5 days.
doi:10.1186/cc2896
PMCID: PMC522854  PMID: 15312228
analgesia-based sedation; fentanyl; intensive care; morphine; remifentanil
2.  Sedation in the intensive care unit with remifentanil/propofol versus midazolam/fentanyl: a randomised, open-label, pharmacoeconomic trial 
Critical Care  2006;10(3):R91.
Introduction
Remifentanil is an opioid with a unique pharmacokinetic profile. Its organ-independent elimination and short context-sensitive half time of 3 to 4 minutes lead to a highly predictable offset of action. We tested the hypothesis that with an analgesia-based sedation regimen with remifentanil and propofol, patients after cardiac surgery reach predefined criteria for discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU) sooner, resulting in shorter duration of time spent in the ICU, compared to a conventional regimen consisting of midazolam and fentanyl. In addition, the two regimens were compared regarding their costs.
Methods
In this prospective, open-label, randomised, single-centre study, a total of 80 patients (18 to 75 years old), who had undergone cardiac surgery, were postoperatively assigned to one of two treatment regimens for sedation in the ICU for 12 to 72 hours. Patients in the remifentanil/propofol group received remifentanil (6- max. 60 μg kg-1 h-1; dose exceeds recommended labelling). Propofol (0.5 to 4.0 mg kg-1 h-1) was supplemented only in the case of insufficient sedation at maximal remifentanil dose. Patients in the midazolam/fentanyl group received midazolam (0.02 to 0.2 mg kg-1 h-1) and fentanyl (1.0 to 7.0 μg kg-1 h-1). For treatment of pain after extubation, both groups received morphine and/or non-opioid analgesics.
Results
The time intervals (mean values ± standard deviation) from arrival at the ICU until extubation (20.7 ± 5.2 hours versus 24.2 h ± 7.0 hours) and from arrival until eligible discharge from the ICU (46.1 ± 22.0 hours versus 62.4 ± 27.2 hours) were significantly (p < 0.05) shorter in the remifentanil/propofol group. Overall costs of the ICU stay per patient were equal (approximately €1,700 on average).
Conclusion
Compared with midazolam/fentanyl, a remifentanil-based regimen for analgesia and sedation supplemented with propofol significantly reduced the time on mechanical ventilation and allowed earlier discharge from the ICU, at equal overall costs.
doi:10.1186/cc4939
PMCID: PMC1550941  PMID: 16780597
3.  Remifentanil versus fentanyl for analgesia based sedation to provide patient comfort in the intensive care unit: a randomized, double-blind controlled trial [ISRCTN43755713] 
Critical Care  2003;8(1):R1-R11.
Introduction
This double-blind, randomized, multicentre study was conducted to compare the efficacy and safety of remifentanil and fentanyl for intensive care unit (ICU) sedation and analgesia.
Methods
Intubated cardiac, general postsurgical or medical patients (aged ≥ 18 years), who were mechanically ventilated for 12–72 hours, received remifentanil (9 μg/kg per hour; n = 77) or fentanyl (1.5 μg/kg per hour; n = 75). Initial opioid titration was supplemented with propofol (0.5 mg/kg per hour), if required, to achieve optimal sedation (i.e. a Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 4).
Results
The mean percentages of time in optimal sedation were 88.3% for remifentanil and 89.3% for fentanyl (not significant). Patients with a Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 4 exhibited significantly less between-patient variability in optimal sedation on remifentanil (variance ratio of fentanyl to remifentanil 1.84; P = 0.009). Of patients who received fentanyl 40% required propofol, as compared with 35% of those who received remifentanil (median total doses 683 mg and 378 mg, respectively; P = 0.065). Recovery was rapid (median time to extubation: 1.1 hours for remifentanil and 1.3 hours for fentanyl; not significant). Remifentanil patients who experienced pain did so for significantly longer during extubation (6.5% of the time versus 1.4%; P = 0.013), postextubation (10.2% versus 3.6%; P = 0.001) and post-treatment (13.5% versus 5.1%; P = 0.001), but they exhibited similar haemodynamic stability with no significant differences in adverse event incidence.
Conclusion
Analgesia based sedation with remifentanil titrated to response provided effective sedation and rapid extubation without the need for propofol in most patients. Fentanyl was similar, probably because the dosing algorithm demanded frequent monitoring and adjustment, thereby preventing over-sedation. Rapid offset of analgesia with remifentanil resulted in a greater incidence of pain, highlighting the need for proactive pain management when transitioning to longer acting analgesics, which is difficult within a double-blind study but would be quite possible under normal circumstances.
doi:10.1186/cc2398
PMCID: PMC420059  PMID: 14975049
analgesia; analgesia based sedation; critical care; fentanyl; propofol; remifentanil; renal function; sedation
4.  Dexmedetomidine use in the ICU: Are we there yet? 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):320.
Expanded abstract
Citation
Jakob SM, Ruokonen E, Grounds RM, Sarapohja T, Garratt C, Pocock SJ, Bratty JR, Takala J; Dexmedeto midine for Long-Term Sedation Investigators: Dexmedetomidine vesus midazolam or propofol for sedation during prolonged mechanical ventilation: two randomized controlled trials. JAMA 2012, 307:1151-1160.
Background
Long-term sedation with midazolam or propofol in intensive care units (ICUs) has serious adverse effects. Dexmedetomidine, an alpha-2 agonist available for ICU sedation, may reduce the duration of mechanical ventilation and enhance patient comfort.
Methods
Objective
The objective was to determine the efficacy of dexmedetomidine versus midazolam or propofol (preferred usual care) in maintaining sedation, reducing duration of mechanical ventilation, and improving patients' interaction with nursing care.
Design
Two phase 3 multicenter, randomized, double-blind trials were conducted.
Setting
The MIDEX (Midazolam vs. Dexmedetomidine) trial compared midazolam with dexmedetomidine in ICUs of 44 centers in nine European countries. The PRODEX (Propofol vs. Dexmedetomidine) trial compared propofol with dexmedetomidine in 31 centers in six European countries and two centers in Russia.
Subjects
The subjects were adult ICU patients who were receiving mechanical ventilation and who needed light to moderate sedation for more than 24 hours.
Intervention
After enrollment, 251 and 249 subjects were randomly assigned midazolam and dexmedetomidine, respectively, in the MIDEX trial, and 247 and 251 subjects were randomly assigned propofol and dexmedetomidine, respectively, in the PRODEX trial. Sedation with dexmedetomidine, midazolam, or propofol; daily sedation stops; and spontaneous breathing trials were employed.
Outcomes
For each trial, investigators tested whether dexmedetomidine was noninferior to control with respect to proportion of time at target sedation level (measured by Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale) and superior to control with respect to duration of mechanical ventilation. Secondary end points were the ability of the patient to communicate pain (measured by using a visual analogue scale [VAS]) and length of ICU stay. Time at target sedation was analyzed in per-protocol (midazolam, n = 233, versus dexmedetomidine, n = 227; propofol, n = 214, versus dexmedetomidine, n = 223) population.
Results
Dexmedetomidine/midazolam ratio in time at target sedation was 1.07 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97 to 1.18), and dexmedetomidine/propofol ratio in time at target sedation was 1.00 (95% CI 0.92 to 1.08). Median duration of mechanical ventilation appeared shorter with dexmedetomidine (123 hours, interquartile range (IQR) 67 to 337) versus midazolam (164 hours, IQR 92 to 380; P = 0.03) but not with dexmedetomidine (97 hours, IQR 45 to 257) versus propofol (118 hours, IQR 48 to 327; P = 0.24). Patient interaction (measured by using VAS) was improved with dexmedetomidine (estimated score difference versus midazolam 19.7, 95% CI 15.2 to 24.2; P <0.001; and versus propofol 11.2, 95% CI 6.4 to 15.9; P <0.001). Lengths of ICU and hospital stays and mortality rates were similar. Dexmedetomidine versus midazolam patients had more hypotension (51/247 [20.6%] versus 29/250 [11.6%]; P = 0.007) and bradycardia (35/247 [14.2%] versus 13/250 [5.2%]; P <0.001).
Conclusions
Among ICU patients receiving prolonged mechanical ventilation, dexmedetomidine was not inferior to midazolam and propofol in maintaining light to moderate sedation. Dexmedetomidine reduced duration of mechanical ventilation compared with midazolam and improved the ability of patients to communicate pain compared with midazolam and propofol. Greater numbers of adverse effects were associated with dexmedetomidine.
doi:10.1186/cc12707
PMCID: PMC3706806  PMID: 23731973
5.  Respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine in the surgical patient requiring intensive care 
Critical Care  2000;4(5):302-308.
The respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine were retrospectively examined in 33 postsurgical patients involved in a randomised, placebo-controlled trial after extubation in the intensive care unit (ICU). Morphine requirements were reduced by over 50% in patients receiving dexmedetomidine. There were no differences in respiratory rates, oxygen saturations, arterial pH and arterial partial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) between the groups. Interestingly the arterial partial oxygen tension (PaO2) : fractional inspired oxygen (FIO2) ratios were statistically significantly higher in the dexmedetomidine group. Dexmedetomidine provides important postsurgical analgesia and appears to have no clinically important adverse effects on respiration in the surgical patient who requires intensive care.
Introduction:
The α2-agonist dexmedetomidine is a new class of sedative drug that is being investigated for use in ICU settings. It is an effective agent for the management of sedation and analgesia after cardiac, general, orthopaedic, head and neck, oncological and vascular surgery in the ICU [1]. Cardiovascular stability was demonstrated, with significant reductions in rate-pressure product during sedation and over the extubation period.
Dexmedetomidine possesses several properties that may additionally benefit those critically ill patients who require sedation. In spontaneously breathing volunteers, intravenous dexmedetomidine caused marked sedation with only mild reductions in resting ventilation at higher doses [2]. Dexmedetomidine reduces the haemodynamic response to intubation and extubation [3,4,5] and attenuates the stress response to surgery [6], as a result of the α2-mediated reduction in sympathetic tone. Therefore, it should be possible to continue sedation with dexmedetomidine over the stressful extubation period without concerns over respiratory depression, while ensuring that haemodynamic stability is preserved.
The present study is a retrospective analysis of the respiratory response to dexmedetomidine in 33 postsurgical patients (who were involved in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial [1]) after extubation in the ICU.
Methods:
Patients who participated in the present study were admitted after surgery to our general or cardiothoracic ICUs, and were expected to receive at least 6 h of postsurgical sedation and artificial ventilation.
On arrival in the ICU after surgery, patients were randomized to receive either dexmedetomidine or placebo (normal saline) with rescue sedation and analgesia being provided, only if clinically needed, with midazolam and morphine boluses, respectively. Sedation was titrated to maintain a Ramsay Sedation Score [7] of 3 or greater while the patients were intubated, and infusions of study drug were continued for a maximum of 6 h after extubation to achieve a Ramsay Sedation Score of 2 or greater.
The patients were intubated and ventilated with oxygen-enriched air to attain acceptable arterial blood gases, and extubation occurred when clinically indicated. All patients received supplemental oxygen after extubation, which was delivered by a fixed performance device. Assessment of pain was by direct communication with the patient.
Results are expressed as mean ± standard deviation unless otherwise stated. Patient characteristics, operative details and morphine usage were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical differences for respiratory measurements between the two groups were determined using analysis of variance for repeated measures, with the Bonferroni test for post hoc comparisons.
Results:
Of the 40 patients who participated in the study, seven patients could not be included in the analysis of respiratory function because they did not receive a study drug infusion after extubation. Consequently, data from 33 patients are used in the analysis of respiratory function; 16 received dexmedetomidine and 17 placebo. Inadequate arterial blood gas analysis was available in five patients (two from the dexmedetomidine group, and three from the placebo group). There were no significant differences in patient characteristics and operative details between the groups.
Requirements for morphine were reduced by more than 50% in patients receiving dexmedetomidine when compared with placebo after extubation (0.003 ± 0.004 vs 0.008 ± 0.006 mg/kg per h; P= 0.040).
There were no statistically significant differences between placebo and dexmedetomidine for oxygen saturations measured by pulse oximetry (P= 0.26), respiratory rate (P= 0.16; Fig. 1), arterial pH (P= 0.77) and PaCO2 (P= 0.75; Fig. 2) for the 6 h after extubation.
The dexmedetomidine group showed significantly higher PaO2: FIO2 ratios throughout the 6-h intubation (P= 0.036) and extubation (P= 0.037) periods (Fig. 3). There were no adverse respiratory events seen in either the dexmedetomidine or placebo group.
Respiratory rate for the 6-h periods before and after extubation. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
PaCO2 (PCO2) for the 6-h periods before and after extubation, and baseline values (B) on admission to ICU immediately after surgery. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
PaO2 : FIO2 ratio for the 6-h periods before and after extubation, and baseline values (B) on admission to ICU immediately after surgery. (Filled circle) Dexmedetomidine; (Empty circle) placebo. Values are expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
Discussion:
Lack of respiratory depression in patients sedated with α2-adrenoceptor agonists was first reported by Maxwell [8] in a study investigating the respiratory effects of clonidine. However, more recent data suggests that clonidine may cause mild respiratory depression in humans [9], and α2-adrenoceptor agonists are well known to produce profound intraoperative hypoxaemia in sheep [10,11]. The effects of dexmedetomidine on other ventilation parameters also appear to be species specific [12].
Belleville et al [2] investigated the ventilatory effects of a 2-min intravenous infusion of dexmedetomidine on human volunteers. According to those investigators, minute ventilation and arterial PaCO2 were mildly decreased and increased, respectively. There was a rightward shift and depression of the hypercapnic response with infusions of 1.0 and 2.0 μg/kg.
Previous studies that investigated the respiratory effects of dexmedetomidine have only been performed in healthy human volunteers, who have received either single intramuscular injections or short (= 10 min) intravenous infusions of dexmedetomidine. It is therefore reassuring that no deleterious clinical effects on respiration and gas exchange were seen in the patients we studied, who were receiving long-term infusions. However, there are important limitations to the present results. No dose/response curve for dexmedetomidine can be formulated from the data, and further investigation is probably ethically difficult to achieve in the spontaneously ventilating intensive care patient. We also have no data on the ventilatory responses to hypercapnia and hypoxia, which would also be difficult to examine practically and ethically. The placebo group received more than twice as much morphine as patients receiving dexmedetomidine infusions after extubation, but there were no differences in respiratory rate or PaCO2 between the groups. We can not therefore determine from this study whether dexmedetomidine has any benefits over morphine from a respiratory perspective.
There were no differences in oxygen saturations between the groups because the administered oxygen concentration was adjusted to maintain satisfactory gas exchange. Interestingly, however, there were statistically significant higher PaO2 : FIO2 ratios in the dexmedetomidine group. This ratio allows for the variation in administered oxygen to patients during the study period, and gives some clinical indication of alveolar gas exchange. However, this variable was not a primary outcome variable for the present study, and may represent a type 1 error, although post hoc analysis reveals that the data have 80% power to detect a significant difference (α value 0.05). Further studies are obviously required.
Sedation continued over the extubation period, has been shown to reduce haemodynamic disturbances and myocardial ischaemia [13]. We have previously shown [1] that dexmedetomidine provides cardiovascular stability, with a reduction in rate-pressure product over the extubation period. A sedative agent that has analgesic properties, minimal effects on respiration and offers ischaemia protection would have enormous potential in the ICU. Dexmedetomidine may fulfill all of these roles, but at present we can only conclude that dexmedetomidine has no deleterious clinical effects on respiration when used in doses that are sufficient to provide adequate sedation and effective analgesia in the surgical population requiring intensive care.
PMCID: PMC29047  PMID: 11056756
α2-Adrenoceptor agonist; analgesia; dexmedetomidine; intensive care; postoperative; respiratory; sedation
6.  Remifentanil discontinuation and subsequent intensive care unit-acquired infection: a cohort study 
Critical Care  2009;13(2):R60.
Introduction
Recent animal studies demonstrated immunosuppressive effects of opioid withdrawal resulting in a higher risk of infection. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of remifentanil discontinuation on intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired infection.
Methods
This was a prospective observational cohort study performed in a 30-bed medical and surgical university ICU, during a one-year period. All patients hospitalised in the ICU for more than 48 hours were eligible. Sedation was based on a written protocol including remifentanil with or without midazolam. Ramsay score was used to evaluate consciousness. The bedside nurse adjusted sedative infusion to obtain the target Ramsay score. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine risk factors for ICU-acquired infection.
Results
Five hundred and eighty-seven consecutive patients were included in the study. A microbiologically confirmed ICU-acquired infection was diagnosed in 233 (39%) patients. Incidence rate of ICU-acquired infection was 38 per 1000 ICU-days. Ventilator-associated pneumonia was the most frequently diagnosed ICU-acquired infection (23% of study patients). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most frequently isolated microorganism (30%). Multivariate analysis identified remifentanil discontinuation (odds ratio (OR) = 2.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.28 to 4.99, P = 0.007), simplified acute physiology score II at ICU admission (1.01 per point, 95% CI = 1 to 1.03, P = 0.011), mechanical ventilation (4.49, 95% CI = 1.52 to 13.2, P = 0.006), tracheostomy (2.25, 95% CI = 1.13 to 4.48, P = 0.021), central venous catheter (2.9, 95% CI = 1.08 to 7.74, P = 0.033) and length of hospital stay (1.05 per day, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.08, P < 0.001) as independent risk factors for ICU-acquired infection.
Conclusions
Remifentanil discontinuation is independently associated with ICU-acquired infection.
doi:10.1186/cc7788
PMCID: PMC2689508  PMID: 19383164
7.  Effect of an analgo-sedation protocol for neurointensive patients: a two-phase interventional non-randomized pilot study 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R71.
Introduction
Sedation protocols are needed for neurointensive patients. The aim of this pilot study was to describe sedation practice at a neurointensive care unit and to assess the feasibility and efficacy of a new sedation protocol. The primary outcomes were a shift from sedation-based to analgesia-based sedation and improved pain management. The secondary outcomes were a reduction in unplanned extubations and duration of sedation.
Methods
This was a two-phase (before-after), prospective controlled study at a university-affiliated, 14-bed neurointensive care unit in Denmark. The sample included patients requiring mechanical ventilation for at least 48 hours treated with continuous sedative and analgesic infusions or both. During the observation phase the participants (n = 106) were sedated as usual (non-protocolized), and during the intervention phase the participants (n = 109) were managed according to a new sedation protocol.
Results
Our study showed a shift toward analgo-sedation, suggesting feasibility of the protocol. We found a significant reduction in the use of propofol (P < .001) and midazolam (P = .001) and an increase in fentanyl (P < .001) and remifentanil (P = .003). Patients selected for daily sedation interruption woke up faster, and estimates of pain free patients increased from 56.8% to 82.7% (P < .001), suggesting efficacy of the protocol. The duration of sedation and unplanned extubations were unchanged.
Conclusions
Our pilot study showed feasibility and partial efficacy of our protocol. Some neurointensive patients might not benefit from protocolized practice. We recommend an interdisciplinary effort to target patients requiring less sedation, as issues of oversedation and inadequate pain management still need more attention.
Trial registration
ISRCTN80999859.
doi:10.1186/cc8978
PMCID: PMC2887194  PMID: 20403186
8.  Adjunctive remifentanil infusion in deeply sedated and paralyzed ICU patients during fiberoptic bronchoscopy procedure: a prospective, randomized, controlled study 
Background
Even with an adequate pain assessment, critically ill patients under sedation experience pain during procedures in the intensive care unit (ICU). We evaluated the effects of adjunctive administration of Remifentanil, a short-acting drug, in deeply sedated patient on variation of Bispectral Index (BIS) during a fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
Methods
A prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 18-bed ICU. Patients needing a tracheal fibroscopy under deep sedation (midazolam (0.1 mg/kg per hour) fentanyl (4 μg/kg per hour)) and neuromuscular blocking (atracurium 0.5 mg/kg) were included in the study. A continuous monitoring of BIS, arterial pressure, and heart rate were realized before, during, and after the fiberoptic exam. An adjunctive continuous placebo or Remifentanil infusion was started just before the fiberoptic exam with a target effect-site concentration of 4 ng/ml using a Base Primea pump.
Results
Mean arterial pressure and heart rates were comparable between the placebo and Remifentanil groups at all times of the procedure. We did not observe differences in the variation of BIS values between the two groups during procedure. We described no change in BIS values relative to the placebo group in this population.
Conclusions
In deeply sedated and paralyzed patients, receiving analgesic support based on a scale score an additional administration of short-acting analgesic drug, such as Remifentanil, seems not to be necessary for acute pain control.
Trial registration
NCT00162591.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-29
PMCID: PMC3487977  PMID: 22800647
Pain; Intensive care; Bispectral index; Remifentanil
9.  Comparison of sedation effectiveness of remifentanil-dexmedetomidine and remifentanil-midazolam combinations and their effects on postoperative cognitive functions in cystoscopies: A randomized clinical trial 
Background:
The aim of the study is to compare the effects of remifentanil/dexmedetomidine and remifentanil/midazolam combinations in monitored anesthesia care (MAC) during cystoscopies.
Materials and Methods:
Forty patients who received remifentanil infusion of 0.05 μg kg-1 min-1 for cytoscopy procedure were randomized into two groups: Either dexmedetomidine 1 mg kg-1 (Group D) or midazolam 0.2 mg kg-1 h-1 (Group M) was administered intravenously for the first 10 min. Subsequently, anesthesia was maintained by using the bispectral index as a continuous infusion of dexmedetomidine (0.2-0.7 μg kg-1 h-1) or midazolam (0.05-0.15 μg kg-1 h-1). Heart rate, mean arterial pressure, mini-mental state examination findings, levels of sedation andanalgesia, and the patient's and surgeon's satisfaction were recorded.
Results:
Successful sedation and analgesia were achieved in all the patients. We were able to reach the target sedation level faster in Group D (P<0.0001). In Group D, the cognitive functions were less affected than in Group M (P<0.0001). Patient's and surgeon's satisfaction were significantly higher in Group D.
Conclusion:
The targeted sedation levels were achieved in a shorter period with dexmedetomidine-remifentanil compared to midazolam-remifentanil. The dexmedetomidine-remifentanil combination was observed to affect the cognitive functions less than midazolam-remifentanil did with shorter recovery times. Besides, patient's and surgeon's satisfaction rates were superior with dexmedetomidine-remifentanil. It was concluded that dexmedetomidine-remifentanil may be a combination of choice for monitored anesthesia care applications in outpatient surgical procedures of short duration.
PMCID: PMC3724369  PMID: 23914211
Dexmedetomidine; midazolam; remifentanil; monitored anesthesia care; mini mental state examination; cystoscopy
10.  Sedative Efficacy of Propofol in Patients Intubated/Ventilated after Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery 
Background:
Sedation after open heart surgery is important in preventing stress on the heart. The unique sedative features of propofol prompted us to evaluate its potential clinical role in the sedation of post-CABG patients.
Objectives:
To compare propofol-based sedation to midazolam-based sedation after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Patients and Methods:
Fifty patients who were admitted to the ICU after CABG surgery was randomized into two groups to receive sedation with either midazolam or propofol infusions; and additional analgesia was administered if required. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients 40-60 years old, hemodynamic stability, ejection fraction (EF) more than 40%; exclusion criteria included patients who required intra-aortic balloon pump or inotropic drugs post-bypass. The same protocol of anesthetic medications was used in both groups. Depth of sedation was monitored using the Ramsay sedation score (RSS). Invasive mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR), arterial blood gas (ABG) and ventilatory parameters were monitored continuously after the start of study drug and until the patients were extubated.
Results:
The depth of sedation was almost the same in the two groups (RSS=4.5 in midazolam group vs 4.7 in propofol group; P = 0.259) but the total dose of fentanyl in the midazolam group was significantly more than the propofol group (12.5 mg/hr vs 4 mg/hr) (P = 0.0039). No significant differences were found in MAP (P = 0.51) and HR (P = 0.41) between the groups. The mean extubation time in patients sedated with propofol was shorter than those sedated with midazolam (102 ± 27 min vs 245 ± 42 min, respectively; P < 0.05) but the ICU discharge time was not shorter (47.5 hr vs 36.3 hr, respectively; P = 0.24).
Conclusions:
Propofol provided a safe and acceptable sedation for post-CABG surgical patients, significantly reduced the requirement for analgesics, and allowed for more rapid tracheal extubation than midazolam but did not result in earlier ICU discharge.
doi:10.5812/aapm.17109
PMCID: PMC3961039  PMID: 24660162
Propofol; Analgesics; Coronary Artery Bypass; Deep Sedation; Midazolam; Airway Extubation; Length of Stay
11.  Offset of pharmacodynamic effects and safety of remifentanil in intensive care unit patients with various degrees of renal impairment 
Critical Care  2003;8(1):R21-R30.
Introduction
This open label, multicentre study was conducted to assess the times to offset of the pharmacodynamic effects and the safety of remifentanil in patients with varying degrees of renal impairment requiring intensive care.
Methods
A total of 40 patients, who were aged 18 years or older and had normal/mildly impaired renal function (estimated creatinine clearance ≥ 50 ml/min; n = 10) or moderate/severe renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance <50 ml/min; n = 30), were entered into the study. Remifentanil was infused for up to 72 hours (initial rate 6–9 μg/kg per hour), with propofol administered if required, to achieve a target Sedation–Agitation Scale score of 2–4, with no or mild pain.
Results
There was no evidence of increased offset time with increased duration of exposure to remifentanil in either group. The time to offset of the effects of remifentanil (at 8, 24, 48 and 72 hours during scheduled down-titrations of the infusion) were more variable and were statistically significantly longer in the moderate/severe group than in the normal/mild group at 24 hours and 72 hours. These observed differences were not clinically significant (the difference in mean offset at 72 hours was only 16.5 min). Propofol consumption was lower with the remifentanil based technique than with hypnotic based sedative techniques. There were no statistically significant differences between the renal function groups in the incidence of adverse events, and no deaths were attributable to remifentanil use.
Conclusion
Remifentanil was well tolerated, and the offset of pharmacodynamic effects was not prolonged either as a result of renal dysfunction or prolonged infusion up to 72 hours.
doi:10.1186/cc2399
PMCID: PMC420060  PMID: 14975051
analgesia based sedation; critical care; offset times; pharmacodynamics; remifentanil; renal function; safety
12.  The place for short-acting opioids: special emphasis on remifentanil 
Critical Care  2008;12(Suppl 3):S5.
Pain is among the worst possible experiences for the critically ill. Therefore, nearly all intensive care patients receive some kind of pain relief, and opioids are most frequently administered. Morphine has a number of important adverse effects, including histamine release, pruritus, constipation, and, in particular, accumulation of morphine-6-glucuronide in patients with renal impairment. Hence, it is not an ideal analgesic for use in critically ill patients. Although the synthetic opioids fentanyl, alfentanil, and sufentanil have better profiles, they undergo hepatic metabolism and their continuous infusion also leads to accumulation and prolonged drug effects. Various attempts have been made to limit these adverse effects, including daily interruption of infusion of sedatives and analgesics, intermittent bolus injections rather than continuous infusions, and selection of a ventilatory support pattern that allows more spontaneous ventilation. However, these techniques at best only limit the effects of drug accumulation, but they do not solve the problem. Another type of approach is to use remifentanil in critically ill patients. Remifentanil is metabolized by unspecific blood and tissue esterases and undergoes rapid metabolism, independent of the duration of infusion or any organ insufficiency. There are data indicating that remifentanil can be used for analgesia and sedation in all kinds of adult intensive care unit patients, and that its use will result in rapid and predictable offset of effect. This may permit both a significant reduction in weaning and extubation times, and clear differentiation between over-sedation and brain dysfunction. This article provides an overview of the use of short-acting opioids in the intensive care unit, with special emphasis on remifentanil. It summarizes the currently available study data regarding remifentanil and provides recommendations for clinical use of this agent.
doi:10.1186/cc6152
PMCID: PMC2391266  PMID: 18495056
13.  Remifentanil infusion as a modality for opioid-based anaesthesia in paediatric practice 
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia  2010;54(4):318-323.
This study was designed to compare the intra-operative and post-operative analgesic requirements and side effects of using fentanyl infusion versus remifentanil infusion during short-duration surgical procedures in children. The study comprised of 40 children randomly allocated into two equal groups: fentanyl (F-group) or remifentanil (R-group). Both were administered a continuous intravenous (i.v.) infusion. Anaesthetic recovery was assessed using the Brussels sedation scale every 5 min from the time of entry till discharge from recovery room. Post-operative analgesia was assessed throughout the first three post-operative (PO) hours using observational pain–discomfort scale (OPS) and adverse events were recorded. Haemodynamic variables showed a non-significant difference between both the groups. Patients who received remifentanil showed significantly shorter time to spontaneous respiration, eye opening, extubation and verbalization compared to those who received fentanyl. Discharge time was significantly shorter in R-group, and 18 patients fulfilled criteria for recovery-room discharge at ≤25 min with a significant difference in favour of remifentanil. Fentanyl provided significantly better PO analgesia than remifentanil and children in F-group showed a significantly lower mean cumulative OPS record than those in R-group; however, the number of patients requiring rescue analgesia did not show a significant difference between both the groups. Two cases in F-group and one in R-group had bradycardia, one case in R-group had mild hypotension and PO vomiting had occurred in three patients in the F-group and two patients in the R-group. In conclusion, remifentanil is appropriate for opioid-based anaesthesia for paediatric patients as it provides haemodynamic stability and rapid recovery with minimal post-operative side effects.
doi:10.4103/0019-5049.68375
PMCID: PMC2943701  PMID: 20882174
Opioid based; paediatric; remifentanil
14.  Intra- and inter-individual variation of BIS-index® and Entropy® during controlled sedation with midazolam/remifentanil and dexmedetomidine/remifentanil in healthy volunteers: an interventional study 
Critical Care  2009;13(1):R20.
Introduction
We studied intra-individual and inter-individual variability of two online sedation monitors, BIS® and Entropy®, in volunteers under sedation.
Methods
Ten healthy volunteers were sedated in a stepwise manner with doses of either midazolam and remifentanil or dexmedetomidine and remifentanil. One week later the procedure was repeated with the remaining drug combination. The doses were adjusted to achieve three different sedation levels (Ramsay Scores 2, 3 and 4) and controlled by a computer-driven drug-delivery system to maintain stable plasma concentrations of the drugs. At each level of sedation, BIS® and Entropy® (response entropy and state entropy) values were recorded for 20 minutes. Baseline recordings were obtained before the sedative medications were administered.
Results
Both inter-individual and intra-individual variability increased as the sedation level deepened. Entropy® values showed greater variability than BIS® values, and the variability was greater during dexmedetomidine/remifentanil sedation than during midazolam/remifentanil sedation.
Conclusions
The large intra-individual and inter-individual variability of BIS® and Entropy® values in sedated volunteers makes the determination of sedation levels by processed electroencephalogram (EEG) variables impossible. Reports in the literature which draw conclusions based on processed EEG variables obtained from sedated intensive care unit (ICU) patients may be inaccurate due to this variability.
Trial registration
clinicaltrials.gov Nr. NCT00641563.
doi:10.1186/cc7723
PMCID: PMC2688138  PMID: 19228415
15.  Daily sedative interruption versus intermittent sedation in mechanically ventilated critically ill patients: a randomized trial 
Background
Daily sedative interruption and intermittent sedation are effective in abbreviating the time on mechanical ventilation. Whether one is superior to the other has not yet been determined. Our aim was to compare daily interruption and intermittent sedation during the mechanical ventilation period in a low nurse staffing ICU.
Methods
Adult patients expected to need mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours were randomly assigned, in a single center, either to daily interruption of continuous sedative and opioid infusion or to intermittent sedation. In both cases, our goal was to maintain a Sedation Agitation Scale (SAS) level of 3 or 4; that is patients should be calm, easily arousable or awakened with verbal stimuli or gentle shaking. Primary outcome was ventilator-free days in 28 days. Secondary outcomes were ICU and hospital mortality, incidence of delirium, nurse workload, self-extubation and psychological distress six months after ICU discharge.
Results
A total of 60 patients were included. There were no differences in the ventilator-free days in 28 days between daily interruption and intermittent sedation (median: 24 versus 25 days, P = 0.160). There were also no differences in ICU mortality (40 versus 23.3%, P = 0.165), hospital mortality (43.3 versus 30%, P = 0.284), incidence of delirium (30 versus 40%, P = 0.472), self-extubation (3.3 versus 6.7%, P = 0.514), and psychological stress six months after ICU discharge. Also, the nurse workload was not different between groups, but it was reduced on day 5 compared to day 1 in both groups (Nurse Activity Score (NAS) in the intermittent sedation group was 54 on day 1 versus 39 on day 5, P < 0.001; NAS in daily interruption group was 53 on day 1 versus 38 on day 5, P < 0.001). Fentanyl and midazolam total dosages per patient were higher in the daily interruption group. The tidal volume was higher in the intermittent sedation group during the first five days of ICU stay.
Conclusions
There was no difference in the number of ventilator-free days in 28 days between both groups. Intermittent sedation was associated with lower sedative and opioid doses.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00824239.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-4-14
PMCID: PMC4026117  PMID: 24900938
Sedation; Mechanical ventilation; Conscious sedation; Critical care and outcome assessment
16.  Efficiency and safety of inhalative sedation with sevoflurane in comparison to an intravenous sedation concept with propofol in intensive care patients: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:135.
Background
State of the art sedation concepts on intensive care units (ICU) favor propofol for a time period of up to 72 h and midazolam for long-term sedation. However, intravenous sedation is associated with complications such as development of tolerance, insufficient sedation quality, gastrointestinal paralysis, and withdrawal symptoms including cognitive deficits. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether sevoflurane as a volatile anesthetic technically implemented by the anesthetic-conserving device (ACD) may provide advantages regarding ‘weaning time’, efficiency, and patient’s safety when compared to standard intravenous sedation employing propofol.
Method/Design
This currently ongoing trial is designed as a two-armed, monocentric, randomized prospective phase II study including intubated intensive care patients with an expected necessity for sedation exceeding 48 h. Patients are randomly assigned to either receive intravenous sedation with propofol or sevoflurane employing the ACD. Primary endpoint is the comparison of the ‘weaning time’ defined as the time required from discontinuation of the sedating agent until sufficient spontaneous breathing occurs. Moreover, sedation depth evaluated by Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale and parameters of patient’s safety (that is, vital signs, laboratory monitoring of organ function) as well as the duration of mechanical ventilation and overall stay on the ICU are analyzed and compared. An intention-to-treat analysis will be carried out with all patients for whom it will be possible to define a wake-up time. In addition, a per-protocol analysis is envisaged. Completion of patient recruitment is expected by the end of 2012.
Discussion
This clinical study is designed to evaluate the impact of sevoflurane during long-term sedation of critically ill patients on ‘weaning time’, efficiency, and patient’s safety compared to the standard intravenous sedation concept employing propofol.
Trial registration
EudraCT2007-006087-30; ISCRTN90609144
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-135
PMCID: PMC3502585  PMID: 22883020
Inhalative sedation; Intravenous sedation; Intensive care; Sevoflurane
17.  Remifentanil-induced pronociceptive effect and its prevention with pregabalin 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2011;60(3):198-204.
Background
Experimental and clinical studies have suggested that remifentanil probably causes acute tolerance or postinfusion hyperalgesia. This study was designed to confirm whether remifentanil given during propofol anesthesia induced postoperative pain sensitization, and we wanted to investigate whether pregabalin could prevent this pronociceptive effect.
Methods
Sixty patients who were scheduled for total abdominal hysterectomy were randomly allocated to receive (1) a placebo as premedication and an intraoperative saline infusion (control group), (2) a placebo as premedication and an intraoperative infusion of remifentanil at a rate of 3-4 ng/ml (remifentanil group), or (3) pregabalin 150 mg as premedication and an intraoperative infusion of remifentanil at a rate of 3-4 ng/ml (pregabalin-remifentanil group). Postoperative pain was controlled by titration of fentanyl in the postanesthetic care unit (PACU), followed by patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) with fentanyl. The patients were evaluated using the visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain scores at rest and after cough, consumption of fentanyl, sedation score and any side effects that were noted over the 48 h postoperative period.
Results
The fentanyl titration dose given in the PACU was significantly larger in the remifentanil group as compared with those of the other two groups. At rest, the VAS pain score in the remifentanil group at 2 h after arrival in the PACU was significantly higher than those in the other two groups.
Conclusions
The results of this study show that remifentanil added to propofol anesthesia causes pain sensitization in the immediate postoperative period. Pretreatment with pregabalin prevents this pronociceptive effect and so this may be useful for the management of acute postoperative pain when remifentanil and propofol are used as anesthetics.
doi:10.4097/kjae.2011.60.3.198
PMCID: PMC3071484  PMID: 21490822
Hyperalgesia; Pregabalin; Remifentanil; Tolerance
18.  Changes in sedation management in German intensive care units between 2002 and 2006: a national follow-up survey 
Critical Care  2007;11(6):R124.
Background
The aim of this study, conducted in 2006, was to find out whether changes in sedation management in German intensive care units took place in comparison with our survey from 2002.
Methods
We conducted a follow-up survey with a descriptive and comparative cross-sectional multi-center design. A postal survey was sent between January and May 2006, up to four times, to the same 269 hospitals that participated in our first survey in 2002. The same questionnaire as in 2002 was used with a few additional questions.
Results
Two hundred fourteen (82%) hospitals replied. Sixty-seven percent of the hospitals carried out changes in sedation management since the 2002 survey. Reasons for changes were published literature (46%), national guidelines (29%), and scientific lectures (32%). Sedation protocols (8% versus 52%) and a sedation scale (21% versus 46%) were used significantly more frequently. During sedation periods of up to 24 hours, significantly less midazolam was used (46% versus 35%). In comparison to 2002, sufentanil and epidural analgesia were used much more frequently in all phases of sedation, and fentanyl more rarely. For periods of greater than 72 hours, remifentanil was used more often. A daily sedation break was introduced by 34% of the hospitals, and a pain scale by 21%.
Conclusion
The increased implementation of protocols and scoring systems for the measurement of sedation depth and analgesia, a daily sedation break, and the use of more short-acting analgesics and sedatives account for more patient-oriented analgesia and sedation in 2006 compared with 2002.
doi:10.1186/cc6189
PMCID: PMC2246220  PMID: 18062820
19.  Economic Evaluation of Dexmedetomidine Relative to Midazolam for Sedation in the Intensive Care Unit 
Background
Dexmedetomidine is an α2-receptor agonist administered by continuous infusion in the intensive care unit (ICU) for sedation of critically ill patients who are undergoing mechanical ventilation following intubation. Relative to ICU patients receiving midazolam (a γ-aminobutyric acid agonist) for sedation, those receiving dexmedetomidine spent less time on ventilation, had fewer episodes of delirium, and had a lower incidence of tachycardia and hypertension.
Objective
To assess the economic impact, in a Canadian context, of dexmedetomidine, relative to midazolam, for sedation in the ICU.
Methods
This economic evaluation was based on a cost–consequences analysis, from the perspective of the Canadian health care system. The selected time horizon was an ICU stay (maximum 30 days). Clinical data were obtained from a previously published prospective, randomized, double-blind trial comparing dexmedetomidine and midazolam. This evaluation considered the costs of the medications, mechanical ventilation, and delirium episodes, as well as costs associated with adverse events requiring an intervention. All costs were adjusted to 2010 and are reported in Canadian dollars.
Results
The average cost of the medication was higher for dexmedetomidine than midazolam ($1929.57 versus $180.10 per patient), but the average costs associated with mechanical ventilation and management of delirium were lower with dexmedetomidine than with midazolam ($2939 versus $4448 for ventilation; $2127 versus $3012 for delirium). The overall cost per patient was lower with dexmedetomidine than with midazolam ($7022 versus $7680). Deterministic sensitivity analysis confirmed the robustness of the difference.
Conclusions
The use of dexmedetomidine was, in most contexts, a more favourable strategy than the use of midazolam, in terms of clinical consequences and economic impact. Dexmedetomidine was less expensive than midazolam and was associated with lower occurrence of delirium and shorter duration of mechanical ventilation.
PMCID: PMC3329902  PMID: 22529402
dexmedetomidine; sedation; intensive care unit; economic evaluation; dexmédétomidine; sédation; unité de soins intensifs; évaluation économique
20.  Isoflurane compared with midazolam for sedation in the intensive care unit. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;298(6683):1277-1280.
OBJECTIVE--To compare isoflurane with midazolam for sedation of ventilated patients. DESIGN--Randomised control study. Setting--Intensive care unit in university teaching hospital. PATIENTS--Sixty patients aged 18-76 who required mechanical ventilation. INTERVENTIONS--Sedation with either 0.1-0.6% isoflurane in an air-oxygen mixture (30 patients) or a continuous intravenous infusion of midazolam 0.01-0.20 mg/kg/h (30 patients). Sedation was assessed initially and hourly thereafter on a six point scale. Incremental intravenous doses of morphine 0.05 mg/kg were given for analgesia as required. The trial sedative was stopped when the patient was judged ready for weaning from ventilatory support or at 24 hours (whichever was earlier). END POINT--Achievement of a predetermined level of sedation for as much of the time as possible. MAIN RESULTS--Isoflurane produced satisfactory sedation for a greater proportion of time (86%) than midazolam (64%), and patients sedated with isoflurane recovered more rapidly from sedation. CONCLUSION--Isoflurane is a promising alternative technique for sedation of ventilated patients in the intensive care unit.
PMCID: PMC1836531  PMID: 2500195
21.  Replacement of fentanyl infusion by enteral methadone decreases the weaning time from mechanical ventilation: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2012;16(2):R49.
Introduction
Patients undergoing mechanical ventilation (MV) are frequently administered prolonged and/or high doses of opioids which when removed can cause a withdrawal syndrome and difficulty in weaning from MV. We tested the hypothesis that the introduction of enteral methadone during weaning from sedation and analgesia in critically ill adult patients on MV would decrease the weaning time from MV.
Methods
A double-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted in the adult intensive care units (ICUs) of four general hospitals in Brazil. The 75 patients, who met the criteria for weaning from MV and had been using fentanyl for more than five consecutive days, were randomized to the methadone (MG) or control group (CG). Within the first 24 hours after study enrollment, both groups received 80% of the original dose of fentanyl, the MG received enteral methadone and the CG received an enteral placebo. After the first 24 hours, the MG received an intravenous (IV) saline solution (placebo), while the CG received IV fentanyl. For both groups, the IV solution was reduced by 20% every 24 hours. The groups were compared by evaluating the MV weaning time and the duration of MV, as well as the ICU stay and the hospital stay.
Results
Of the 75 patients randomized, seven were excluded and 68 were analyzed: 37 from the MG and 31 from the CG. There was a higher probability of early extubation in the MG, but the difference was not significant (hazard ratio: 1.52 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87 to 2.64; P = 0.11). The probability of successful weaning by the fifth day was significantly higher in the MG (hazard ratio: 2.64 (95% CI: 1.22 to 5.69; P < 0.02). Among the 54 patients who were successfully weaned (29 from the MG and 25 from the CG), the MV weaning time was significantly lower in the MG (hazard ratio: 2.06; 95% CI 1.17 to 3.63; P < 0.004).
Conclusions
The introduction of enteral methadone during weaning from sedation and analgesia in mechanically ventilated patients resulted in a decrease in the weaning time from MV.
doi:10.1186/cc11250
PMCID: PMC3681375  PMID: 22420584
22.  Effects of nurses’ practice of a sedation protocol on sedation and consciousness levels of patients on mechanical ventilation 
Background:
Providing high-quality care in the intensive care units (ICUs) is a major goal of every medical system. Nurses play a crucial role in achieving this goal. One of the most important responsibilities of nurses is sedation and pain control of patients. The present study tried to assess the effect of nurses’ practice of a sedation protocol on sedation and consciousness levels and the doses of sedatives and analgesics in the ICU patients.
Materials and Methods:
This clinical trial was conducted on 132 ICU patients on mechanical ventilation. The patients were randomly allocated to two groups. While the control group received the ICU's routine care, the intervention group was sedated by ICU nurses based on Jacob's modified sedation protocol. The subjects’ sedation and consciousness levels were evaluated by the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), respectively. Doses of administered midazolam and morphine were also recorded.
Results:
The mean RASS score of the intervention group was closer to the ideal range (−1 to +1), compared to the control group (−0.95 ± 0.3 vs. −1.88 ± 0.4). Consciousness level of the control group was lower than that of the intervention group (8.4 ± 0.4 vs. 8.8 ± 0.4). Finally, higher doses of midazolam and morphine were administered in the control group than in the intervention group.
Conclusion:
As nurses are in constant contact with the ICU patients, their practice of a sedation protocol can result in better sedation and pain control in the patients and reduce the administered doses of sedatives and analgesics.
PMCID: PMC3877462  PMID: 24403942
Consciousness level; nurse; pain; sedation; sedation protocol
23.  Remifentanil patient controlled analgesia versus epidural analgesia in labour. A multicentre randomized controlled trial 
Background
Pain relief during labour is a topic of major interest in the Netherlands. Epidural analgesia is considered to be the most effective method of pain relief and recommended as first choice. However its uptake by pregnant women is limited compared to other western countries, partly as a result of non-availability due to logistic problems. Remifentanil, a synthetic opioid, is very suitable for patient controlled analgesia. Recent studies show that epidural analgesia is superior to remifentanil patient controlled analgesia in terms of pain intensity score; however there was no difference in satisfaction with pain relief between both treatments.
Methods/design
The proposed study is a multicentre randomized controlled study that assesses the cost-effectiveness of remifentanil patient controlled analgesia compared to epidural analgesia. We hypothesize that remifentanil patient controlled analgesia is as effective in improving pain appreciation scores as epidural analgesia, with lower costs and easier achievement of 24 hours availability of pain relief for women in labour and efficient pain relief for those with a contraindication for epidural analgesia.
Eligible women will be informed about the study and randomized before active labour has started. Women will be randomly allocated to a strategy based on epidural analgesia or on remifentanil patient controlled analgesia when they request pain relief during labour. Primary outcome is the pain appreciation score, i.e. satisfaction with pain relief.
Secondary outcome parameters are costs, patient satisfaction, pain scores (pain-intensity), mode of delivery and maternal and neonatal side effects.
The economic analysis will be performed from a short-term healthcare perspective. For both strategies the cost of perinatal care for mother and child, starting at the onset of labour and ending ten days after delivery, will be registered and compared.
Discussion
This study, considering cost effectiveness of remifentanil as first choice analgesia versus epidural analgesia, could strongly improve the care for 180.000 women, giving birth in the Netherlands yearly by giving them access to pain relief during labour, 24 hours a day.
Trial registration number
Dutch Trial Register NTR2551, http://www.trialregister.nl
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-63
PMCID: PMC3464937  PMID: 22748068
Analgesia; Labour; Remifentanil; Patient controlled analgesia; Epidural
24.  Remifentanil for analgesia-based sedation in the intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2003;8(1):13-14.
Providing effective analgesia and adequate sedation is a generally accepted goal of intensive care medicine. Due to its rapid, organ independent and predictable metabolism the short acting opioid remifentanil might be particularly useful for analgesia-based sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU). This hypothesis was tested by two studies in this issue of Critical Care. The study by Breen et al. shows that remifentanil does not exert prolonged clinical effects when continuously infused in renal failure patients, although the weak acting metabolite remifentanil acid accumulates. The study by Muellejans et al. reports a multicenter trial comparing a remifentanil versus a fentanyl based regimen in ICU patients. With both substances a target analgesia and sedation level was reached, and no major differences were found when frequent assessments of the sedation level and according readjustments of doses were performed. These results are in accordance with other studies suggesting that the adherence to a clear analgesia-based sedation protocol might be more important then the choice of medications itself.
doi:10.1186/cc2421
PMCID: PMC420067  PMID: 14975040
analgesia; sedation; remifentanil; organ failure
25.  Remifentanil-based total intravenous anesthesia for pediatric rigid bronchoscopy: comparison of adjuvant propofol and ketamine 
Clinics  2014;69(6):372-377.
OBJECTIVE:
Laryngoscopy and stimuli inside the trachea cause an intense sympatho-adrenal response. Remifentanil seems to be the optimal opioid for rigid bronchoscopy due to its potent and short-acting properties. The purpose of this study was to compare bolus propofol and ketamine as an adjuvant to remifentanil-based total intravenous anesthesia for pediatric rigid bronchoscopy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Forty children under 12 years of age who had been scheduled for a rigid bronchoscopy were included in this study. After midazolam premedication, a 1 µg/kg/min remifentanil infusion was started, and patients were randomly allocated to receive either propofol (Group P) or ketamine (Group K) as well as mivacurium for muscle relaxation. Anesthesia was maintained with a 1 µg/kg/min remifentanil infusion and bolus doses of propofol or ketamine. After the rigid bronchoscopy, 0.05 µg/kg/min of remifentanil was maintained until extubation. Hemodynamic parameters, emergence characteristics, and adverse events were evaluated.
RESULTS:
The demographic variables were comparable between the two groups. The decrease in mean arterial pressure from baseline values to the lowest values during rigid bronchoscopy was greater in Group P (p = 0.049), while the reduction in the other parameters and the incidence of adverse events were comparable between the two groups. The need for assisted or controlled mask ventilation after extubation was higher in Group K.
CONCLUSION:
Remifentanil-based total intravenous anesthesia with propofol or ketamine as an adjuvant drug along with controlled ventilation is a viable technique for pediatric rigid bronchoscopy. Ketamine does not provide a definite advantage over propofol with respect to hemodynamic stability during rigid bronchoscopy, while propofol seems more suitable during the recovery period.
doi:10.6061/clinics/2014(06)01
PMCID: PMC4050329  PMID: 24964299
Rigid Bronchoscopy; Pediatric Anesthesia; Remifentanil; Ketamine; Propofol

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