BACKGROUND: The addition of remifentanil to propofol administration can improve the conditions for insertion of laryngeal mask airways (LMAs). However, the extent to which remifentanil reduces propofol requirements when both drugs are administered concomitantly via target-controlled infusion (TCI) in pediatric patients has not been adequately demonstrated. The purpose of this study was to determine the target concentration of propofol that is required for LMA insertion at three different remifentanil target concentrations (0, 2.5, and 5 ng kg(-1) min(-1)) during TCI in children.
METHODS: A total of 67 children, aged 2 to 12 years, were included, and anesthesia was conducted with TCI of propofol and remifentanil using the STELPUMP program. The children were assigned to three groups in a randomized, double-blind manner: propofol with saline (control group), propofol with 2.5 ng mL(-1) of remifentanil (low-remifentanil group), and propofol with 5.0 ng ml(-1) of remifentanil (high-remifentanil group). The EC(50) of propofol for LMA insertion at each target-concentration of remifentanil was determined using Dixon's up-and-down method, and the EC(50) of propofol in each group was compared using the Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA by rank test.
RESULTS: The EC(50) for propofol was 5.18 mcg mL(-1) in the control group, 4.81 mcg ml(-1) in the low-remifentanil group, and 4.36 mcg mL(-1) in the high-remifentanil group, which was significantly different between the control group and the high-remifentanil group only (P<0.001).
CONCLUSION: A higher target concentration of remifentanil significantly reduced the propofol target concentration for LMA insertion during TCI of both drugs in children, but low concentrations of remifentanil failed to reduce the propofol requirement