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INTRODUCTION: Controlled hypotension is a well-known technique used by anesthesiologists to limit intraoperative bleeding
in patients undergoing middle ear surgery and improve visibility of the surgical field. Nitroglycerin and remifentanil
are among the drugs used to induce controlled hypotension.The aim of our study was to compare the hemodynamic effects
of remifentanil and nitroglycerin in this patient population.
METHODS: All consecutive patients who underwent middle ear surgery between January and December 2016, at the
University Hospital Vittorio Emanuele in Catania were included in a retrospective study. Patients who were given nitroglycerin
to induce controlled hypotension were compared to those given remifentanil. The following parameters were measured
systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, peripheral (capillary) oxygen saturation, and fraction of expired
carbon dioxide. A mean arterial pressure of 50-70 mmHg was considered optimal.
RESULTS: Thirty patients who underwent stapedioplasty and tympanoplasty, 25 men and 5 women,with a mean age of
43 years (range 32-58 years) were included in the study. Fifteen patients had received nitroglycerin (group A) and 15
patients remifentanil (group B). The target blood pressure was reached in all patients and no significant difference was
found between the groups with regard to the level of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, peripheral (capillary)
oxygen saturation, and fraction of expired carbon dioxide. However the heart rate of 2 younger patients in group
A rose to > 100 bpm after the administration of nitroglycerin.
CONCLUSION: Both remifentanil and nitroglycerin are effective in inducing controlled hypotension.
In younger patients administration of nitroglycerin is associated with an increase in heart rate.