Immediate Extubation after Aortic Valve Surgery Using High Thoracic Epidural Anesthesia

  • Thomas M. Hemmerling
  • Jean-Luc Choinière
  • Fadi Basile
  • Nhien Lê
  • Jean François Olivier
  • Ignatio Prieto


Purpose: Fast-track anesthesia has gained widespread use in cardiac centers around the world. No study has focused on immediate extubation after aortic valve surgery. This study examines the feasibility and hemodynamic stability of immediate extubation after simple or combined aortic valve surgery using thoracic epidural anesthesia.

Methods: Thirty patients undergoing aortic valve surgery with an ejection fraction of more than 30% were included in this prospective audit. After insertion of a high thoracic epidural catheter, induction with fentanyl 2 to 4 m g/kg, administration of propofol 1 to 2 mg/kg, and endotracheal intubation facilitated by rocuronium, anesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane titrated according to bispectral index (target, 50). Perioperative analgesia was provided by high thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) (bupivacaine 0.125% 6-14 mL/h). Hemodynamic data were compared by Friedman test. P .05 was considered to show a significant difference. Data are presented as median (25th-75th percentile).

Results: Patients underwent simple aortic valve surgery (n = 17) or combined aortic valve surgery (n = 13) with additional coronary artery bypass grafting (n = 8), replacement of the ascending aorta (Bentall procedure) (n = 4), and repair of open foramen ovale (n = 1). All 30 patients were extubated within 15 minutes after surgery at 36.5 ° C (36.4 ° C-36.6 ° C). There was no need for reintubation. Pain scores were low immediately after surgery and 6, 24, and 48 hours after surgery at 0 (0-3.5), 0 (0-2), 0 (0-2), and 0 (0-2), respectively. During and up to 6 hours after surgery, there was no significant hemodynamic change due to TEA. Fifteen of 30 patients needed temporary pacemaker activation. There were no complications related to TEA. Conclusions: Immediate extubation is feasible after aortic valve surgery with high thoracic epidural analgesia and maintenance of hemodynamic stability throughout surgery. Immediate extubation after aortic valve surgery is a promising new path in cardiac anesthesia.


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How to Cite
Hemmerling, T. M., Choinière, J.-L., Basile, F., Lê, N., Olivier, J. F., & Prieto, I. (2005). Immediate Extubation after Aortic Valve Surgery Using High Thoracic Epidural Anesthesia. The Heart Surgery Forum, 7(1), E62-E66.

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