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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Anesthesiology 1/2015

Esmolol reduces anesthetic requirements thereby facilitating early extubation; a prospective controlled study in patients undergoing intracranial surgery

BMC Anesthesiology > Ausgabe 1/2015
Irene Asouhidou, Anastasia Trikoupi
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

Dr. I. Asouhidou states that she has not any conflict of interest. Dr. A. Trikoupi was head of the committee that approved this study. However, she states that this did not impact upon whether the study received approval or not.

Authors’ contributions

AI designed the study, collected the data and drafted the paper. TA had scientific supervision of the study. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Adequate cerebral perfusion pressure with quick and smooth emergence from anesthesia is a major concern of the neuroanesthesiologist. Anesthesia techniques that minimize anesthetic requirements and their effects may be beneficial. Esmolol, a short acting hyperselective β-adrenergic blocker is effective in blunting adrenergic response to several perioperative stimuli and so it might interfere in the effect of the anesthetic drugs on the brain. This study was designed to investigate the effect of esmolol on the consumption of propofol and sevoflurane in patients undergoing craniotomy.


Forty-two patients that underwent craniotomy for aneurysm clipping or tumour dissection were randomly divided in two groups (four subgroups). Anesthesia was induced with propofol, fentanyl and a single dose of cis-atracurium, followed by continuous infusion of remifentanil and either propofol or sevoflurane. Patients in the esmolol group received 500 mcg/kg of esmolol bolus 10 min before induction of anesthesia, followed by additional 200 mcg/kg/min of esmolol. Monitoring of the depth of anesthesia was also performed using the Bispectral Index-BIS and cardiac output. The inspired concentration of sevoflurane and the infusion rate of propofol were adjusted in order to maintain a BIS value between 40–50. Intraoperative emergence was detected by the elevation of BIS value, HR or MAP.


The initial and the intraoperative doses of propofol and sevoflurane were 18–50 mcg/kg/min and 0.2–0.5 MAC respectively in the esmolol group, whereas in the control group they where 100–150 mcg/kg/ and 0.9–2.0 MAC respectively (p = 0.000 for both groups). All procedures were anesthesiologically uneventful with no episodes of intraoperative emerge.


Esmolol is effective not only in attenuating intraoperative hemodynamic changes related to sympathetic overdrive but also in minimizing significant propofol and sevoflurane requirements without compromising the hemodynamic status. Identifier: NCT02455440. Registered 26 May 2015.
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