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Neuromuscular blockade in cardiac surgery: An update for clinicians

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Author(s): Hemmerling Thomas | Russo Gianluca | Bracco David

Journal: Annals of Cardiac Anaesthesia
ISSN 0971-9784

Volume: 11;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 79;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Neuromuscular blockade | review | cardiac surgery

ABSTRACT
There have been great advancements in cardiac surgery over the last two decades; the widespread use of off-pump aortocoronary bypass surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and robotic surgery have also changed the face of cardiac anaesthesia. The concept of "Fast-track anaesthesia" demands the use of nondepolarising neuromuscular blocking drugs with short duration of action, combining the ability to provide (if necessary) sufficiently profound neuromuscular blockade during surgery and immediate re-establishment of normal neuromuscular transmission at the end of surgery. Postoperative residual muscle paralysis is one of the major hurdles for immediate or early extubation after cardiac surgery. Nondepolarising neuromuscular blocking drugs for cardiac surgery should therefore be easy to titrate, of rapid onset and short duration of action with a pathway of elimination independent from hepatic or renal dysfunction, and should equally not affect haemodynamic stability. The difference between repetitive bolus application and continuous infusion is outlined in this review, with the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics of vecuronium, pancuronium, rocuronium, and cisatracurium. Kinemyography and acceleromyography are the most important currently used neuromuscular monitoring methods. Whereas monitoring at the adductor pollicis muscle is appropriate at the end of surgery, monitoring of the corrugator supercilii muscle better reflects neuromuscular blockade at more central, profound muscles, such as the diaphragm, larynx, or thoraco-abdominal muscles. In conclusion, cisatracurium or rocuronium is recommended for neuromuscular blockade in modern cardiac surgery.
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