Analysis of propofol/remifentanil infusion protocol for tumor surgery with intraoperative brain mapping

Valeria Conte, Lorenzo Magni, Valeria Songa, Paola Tomaselli, Laura Ghisoni, Sandra Magnoni, Lorenzo Bello, Nino Stocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: There is no general consensus about the best anesthesiologic approach to use during craniotomies with intraoperative brain mapping, and large prospective studies evaluating the complications associated with different approaches are lacking. Objective of this study was to prospectively collect and evaluate data about a large series of consecutive asleep-awake and asleep-asleep craniotomies. METHODS: We analyzed 238 consecutive procedures from January 2005 to December 2008. During asleep-awake procedures, patients were initially ventilated through a laryngeal mask which was removed to allow language testing. During asleep-asleep procedures, patients remained sedated and intubated to permit motor testing. RESULTS: In asleep-awake craniotomies [n = 135, age 42y (range: 16 to 72y), American Society of Anesthologists classification (ASA) 1 (1 to 3), and body mass index 24.2 ± 3.7 kg/m 2], 43% of the procedures were free of complications. Most common complications were hypertension (27%) and brief clinical seizures (16%), but also hypotension (10%), vomiting (7%), brief periods of apnea (4%), and agitation (6%) were observed. In 7% of the procedures, seizures required pharmacologic treatment. Fifty-nine percent of the asleep-asleep procedures [n=103, age 51y (range: 21 to 76y), ASA 1 (1 to 3), body mass index 25.4 ± 3.9kg/m2, P <0.05 vs. asleep-awake] were free of complications. Clinical seizures were observed in 31% of the cases. The administration of boluses of hypnotics was rarely necessary (6%) and safer because of secured airways. CONCLUSIONS: With this study, we demonstrated the feasibility and safety of our protocols on large prospective case series. Asleep-awake protocol can be safely used when intraoperative language mapping is planned, whereas an asleep-asleep protocol with secured airway might be preferred when motor testing only is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Awake craniotomy
  • Neurophysiologic monitoring
  • Total intravenous anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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