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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2005 August;46(4):431-6


language: English

Effectiveness and safety of carotid endarterectomy under remifentanil

Coppi G. 1, 2, Moratto R. 1, 2, Ragazzi G. 1, 2, Nicolosi E. 1, 2, Silingardi R. 1, 2, Benassi Franciosi G. 1, 2, Rambaldi M. 1, 2, Navi A. 1, 2, Ciardullo A. V. 2

1 Department of Vascular Surgery S. Agostino Hospital, Modena, Italy 2 Local Health Unit, Modena, Italy


Aim. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) with conscious sedation under remifentanil (Remifentanil anesthesia - RA) vs conventional loco-regional anesthesia (Conventional-LRA) in the current practice of a vascular surgery unit.
Methods. We introduced the “Remifentanil-RA” in our practice according to a two-step protocol. In the first step we performed a pilot prospective study to assess the procedure’s safety and reproducibility in our setting on 60 consecutive patients with symptomatic and/or high-grade (>70%) internal carotid artery stenosis and alternately assigning them either to “Remifentanil-RA” or “Conventional-LRA” CEA. In the second step we analysed our routine operative records as to effectiveness and safety on 533 patients who consecutively underwent “Remifentanil-RA” CEA. We compared them with 533 age- and sex-matched historical controls who underwent “Conventional-LRA” CEA.
Results. The patients’ mean age was 71.2±6.8 vs 71.8±6.1 (“Remifentanil-RA” vs “Conventional-LRA”). About 73% of them were male and 56% had a symptomatic carotid stenosis. Neither the pilot study nor second step comparison showed differences in outcome measures. We found only higher peri-operative nausea/ vomit (3.6% vs 0.4% “Remifentanil-RA” vs “Conventional-LRA”, P<0.0002) and fewer re-operations for post-operative hematomas (3% vs 5.4% respectively, P=0.048).
Conclusion. We found that “Remifentanil-RA” CEA was safe, effective and satisfactory. Nevertheless, with the potential problems of intubation and those already found with side effects, a randomized control trial (RCT) is needed in order to prove that this method is superior to “Conventional-LRA” CEA.

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