Cardiovascular responses during sedation after coronary revascularization: Incidence of myocardial ischemia and hemodynamic episodes with propofol versus midazolam

Joyce A. Wahr, J. Jerill Plunkett, James G. Ramsay, John Reeves, Uday Jain, Catherine Ley, Robert Wilson, Dennis T. Mangano

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40 Scopus citations


Background: Propofol sedation offers advantages for titration and rapid emergence in the critically ill patient, but concern for adverse hemodynamic effects potentially limits its use in these patients. The current study compares the cardiovascular effects of sedation with propofol versus midazolam during the first 12 h after coronary revascularization. Methods: Three hundred fifty-one patients undergoing coronary revascularization were anesthetized using a standardized sufentanil/midazolam regimen, and assigned randomly to 12 h of sedation with either propofol or midazolam while tracheally intubated. The incidence and characteristics of hemodynamic episodes, defined as heart rate less than 60 or greater than 100 beats/min or systolic blood pressure greater than 140 or less than 90 mmHg, were determined using data electronically recorded at 1-min intervals. The presence of myocardial ischemia was determined using continuous three- channel Holter electrocardiography (ECG) and of myocardial infarctions (MI) using 12-lead ECG (Q wave MI, Minnesota Code) or creatine kinase isoenzymes (CK-MB) analysis (non-Q wave MI, peak CK-MB > 70 ng/ml, or CK-MB > 70 IU/l). Results: Ninety-three percent of patients in both treatment groups had at least one hemodynamic episode during the period of postoperative sedation. Propofol sedation resulted in a 17% lower incidence of tachycardia (58% vs. 70%, propofol vs. midazolam; P = 0.04), a 28% lower incidence of hypertension (39% vs. 54%; P = 0.02), and a greater incidence of hypotension (68% vs. 51%; P = 0.01). Despite these hemodynamic effects, the incidence of myocardial ischemia did not differ between treatment groups (12% propofol vs. 13% midazolam; P = 0.66), nor did its severity, as measured by ischemic minutes per hour monitored (8.7 ± 5.8 vs. 6.2 ± 4.6 min/h, propofol vs. midazolam; P = 0.19) or ischemic area under the curve (6.8 ± 4.0 vs. 5.3 ± 4.2; P = 0.37). The incidence of cardiac death (one per group), Q wave MI (propofol, n = 7; midazolam, n = 3; P = 0.27), or non Q wave MI (propofol, n = 16; midazolam, n = 18; P = 0.81) did not differ between treatment groups. Conclusion. Hemodynamic episodes occur frequently in the first 12 h after coronary revascularization. Compared with a standard sedation regimen (midazolam), propofol sedation appears to modulate postoperative hemodynamic responses by reducing the incidence and severity of tachycardia and hypertension and increasing the incidence of hypotension. Both sedation regimens appear similarly safe with respect to myocardial ischemia. These findings indicate that propofol infusion provides effective sedation without deleterious hemodynamic effects in patients recovering from cardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1350-1360
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 26 1996


  • Anesthetics, intravenous: propofol
  • Cardiovascular disease: perioperative myocardial ischemia
  • Intensive care: sedation

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