Author(s): Davis JJ, Swenson JD, Hall RH, Dillon JD, Johnson KB,
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Abstract When opioids are used for postoperative pain control, it is useful to define the dose-response relationship for analgesia and respiratory depression. We studied 20 chronically opioid-consuming patients having elective multilevel spine fusion. Preoperatively, each patient received a fentanyl infusion of 2 microg x kg(-1) x min(-1) until the respiratory rate was <5 breaths/min. Pharmacokinetic simulations were used to estimate the effect site concentration at the time of respiratory depression and to predict the patient-controlled analgesia settings that would provide an effect-site fentanyl concentration that was 30\% of the concentration associated with respiratory depression. Postoperatively, patient-controlled analgesia settings were adjusted to achieve 2-3 demand doses per hour. At steady-state patient-controlled analgesia settings, arterial blood gases and plasma fentanyl levels were measured. Sixteen patients required no adjustment or one patient-controlled analgesia adjustment. The median arterial Pco(2) level was 41 mm Hg and the interquartile range was 39-46 mm Hg. Plasma fentanyl levels demonstrated a significant correlation to the estimated effect-site concentration associated with respiratory depression determined during the preoperative fentanyl challenge. A preoperative fentanyl challenge used with pharmacokinetic simulations may be a useful tool to individualize the administration of analgesics to chronically opioid-consuming patients. IMPLICATIONS: In chronically opioid-consuming patients, doses causing respiratory depression and analgesia may differ from those in opioid-naive individuals. A preoperative infusion of fentanyl, used in conjunction with pharmacokinetic simulation, may be a valuable tool for identifying clinical end-points, such as respiratory depression and analgesia, and individualizing postoperative treatment of pain in patients who chronically consume opioids.
This article was published in Anesth Analg
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research