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Awareness during emergence from anaesthesia: significance of neuromuscular monitoring in patients with butyrylcholinesterase deficiency

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BACKGROUND: Butyrylcholinesterase deficiency can result in prolonged paralysis after administration of succinylcholine or mivacurium. We conducted an interview study to assess whether patients with butyrylcholinesterase deficiency were more likely to have experienced awareness during emergence from anaesthesia if neuromuscular monitoring had not been applied.

METHODS: Patients referred during 2004-2012 were included. Data on the use of neuromuscular monitoring were available from a previous study. Interviews, conducted by telephone, included questions about awareness and screening for post-traumatic stress disorder. Reports of panic, hopelessness, suffocation, or a feeling of being dead or dying resulted in the experience being classified further as distressful. Patients were categorized as aware or unaware by investigators blinded to use of neuromuscular monitoring.

RESULTS: Ninety-five patients were eligible to be interviewed. Of the 70 patients interviewed, 35 (50%) were aware while paralysed during emergence. Of these, 28 (80%) were not monitored with a nerve stimulator when awakened, compared with 17 (49%) of the 35 unaware patients (P=0.012, Fisher's exact test). Thirty (86%) aware patients reported distress compared with seven (20%) unaware patients (P<0.001). The aware patients scored higher in screening for post-traumatic stress disorder (P=0.006, Mann-Whitney U-test).

CONCLUSIONS: Butyrylcholinesterase deficiency is a major risk factor for distressing awareness during emergence. Lack of neuromuscular monitoring increases the risk significantly. Neuromuscular monitoring should be applied even when using short-acting neuromuscular blocking agents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Volume115 Suppl 1
Pages (from-to)i78-i88
ISSN0007-0912
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Apnea, Butyrylcholinesterase, Female, Humans, Intensive Care Units, Intraoperative Awareness, Male, Metabolism, Inborn Errors, Middle Aged, Neuromuscular Monitoring, Paralysis, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic

ID: 45902595