Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Background: While recovery from remifentanil is fast due to its rapid metabolism, it can induce hyperalgesia by activation of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors. Therefore, administration of NMDA receptor antagonists such as ketamine is effective in relieving hyperalgesia caused by remifentanil. A previous study showed that nefopam administration before anesthesia combined with low-dose remifentanil reduced pain and analgesic consumption during the immediate postoperative period. We hypothesized that intraoperative infusion of nefopam during laparoscopic cholecystectomy would be as effective as ketamine in controlling pain during the acute postoperative period after sevoflurane and remifentanil based anesthesia.
Methods: Sixty patients scheduled to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomly divided into three groups. General anesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane and effect-site target concentration of remifentanil (4 ng/ml) in all patients. An intravenous bolus of nefopam (0.3 mg/kg) was given, followed by continuous infusion (65 µg/kg/h) in Group N (n=20). An intravenous bolus of ketamine (0.3 mg/kg) was administered, followed by continuous infusion (180 µg/kg/h) in Group K (n=20), and Group C received a bolus and subsequent infusion of normal saline equal to the infusion received by Group K (n=20). We compared postoperative Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores and analgesic requirements over the first 8 postoperative hours between groups.
Results: The pain scores (VAS) and fentanyl requirements for 1 h after surgery were significantly lower in the nefopam and ketamine groups compared with the control group (p<0.05). There were no differences between the nefopam and ketamine groups. The three groups showed no differences in VAS scores and number of analgesic injections from 1 to 8 h after surgery.
Conclusion: Intraoperative nefopam infusion during laparoscopic cholecystectomy reduced opioid requirements and pain scores (VAS) during the early postoperative period after remifentanil-based anesthesia.
Keywords: Hyperalgesia, Nefopam, Ketamine, Postoperative pain, Remifentanil.