Context A clear preference for intravenous or inhalational anaesthesia has not been established for craniotomy in patients without signs of cerebral hypertension. Objectives The NeuroMorfeo trial was designed to test equivalence of inhalational and intravenous anaesthesia maintenance techniques in the postoperative recovery of patients undergoing elective supratentorial surgery. Design This trial is a multicentre, randomised, open-label, equivalence design. A balanced stratified randomisation scheme was maintained using a centralised randomisation service. Equivalence was tested using the two one-sided tests procedure. Setting Fourteen Italian neuroanaesthesia centres participated in the study from December 2007 to March 2009. Patients Adults, 18 to 75 years old, scheduled for elective supratentorial intracranial surgery under general anaesthesia were eligible for enrolment if they had a normal preoperative level of consciousness and no clinical signs of intracranial hypertension. Interventions Patients were randomised to one of three anaesthesia maintenance protocols to determine if sevoflurane- remifentanil or sevoflurane-fentanyl were equivalent to propofol-remifentanil. Main outcome measures The primary outcome was the time to achieve an Aldrete postanaesthesia score of at least 9 after tracheal extubation. Secondary endpoints included haemodynamic parameters, quality of the surgical field, perioperative neuroendocrine stress responses and routine postoperative assessments. Results Four hundred and eleven patients [51% men, mean age 54.8 (SD 13.3) years] were enrolled. Primary outcome data were available for 380. Median (interquartiles) times to reach an Aldrete score of at least 9 were 3.48 (2.02 to 7.56), 3.25 (1.21 to 6.45) and 3.32 min (1.40 to 8.33) for sevoflurane-fentanyl, sevoflurane-remifentanil and propofol-remifentanil anaesthesia respectively, which confirmed equivalence using the two one-sided tests approach. Between-treatment differences in haemodynamic variables were small and not clinically relevant. Urinary catecholamine and cortisol responses had significantly lower activation with propofol-remifentanil. Postoperative pain and analgesic requirements were significantly higher in the remifentanil groups. Conclusion Equivalence was shown for inhalational and intravenous maintenance anaesthesia in times to reach an Aldrete score of at least 9 after tracheal extubation. Haemodynamic variables, the quality of surgical field and postoperative assessments were also similar. Perioperative endocrine stress responses were significantly blunted with propofol-remifentanil and higher analgesic requirements were recorded in the remifentanil groups. Trial registration: Eudract2007-005279-32.
- Randomised controlledtrial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine