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Remifentanil increases the incidence of mesenteric traction syndrome: preliminary randomized controlled trial

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The use of remifentanil is often associated with the observation of mesenteric traction syndrome (MTS) soon after manipulation of the intestine during abdominal surgery. MTS symptoms include facial flushing, hypotension, and tachycardia. In the study reported here, we prospectively investigated the effects of remifentanil on the incidence of MTS in abdominal surgery.


One hundred patients scheduled for abdominal surgery were randomly assigned to two groups. In one group (n = 50), fentanyl alone was used as intravenous analgesic (control, group C); in the second group (n = 50), both fentanyl and remifentanil were used (remifentanil group, group R). In all patients, anesthesia was induced with propofol and rocuronium and then maintained with sevoflurane inhalation. Remifentanil was continuously infused for patients in group R as an analgesic. Plasma concentration of 6-keto-PGF was measured before surgery and 20 min after the skin incision was made in six patients of group R and seven patients of group C.


MTS occurred in 20 cases in group R (40.0%), but in only five cases in group C (10.0%). In both groups, the incidence of MTS was higher in laparotomy than in laparoscopic surgery. The plasma concentration of 6-keto-PGF was low in both groups before surgery and was elevated 20 min after skin incision in both groups in patients in whom MTS appeared.


The results of this study suggest that the use of remifentanil in laparotomy facilitates MTS.

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Correspondence to Yuki Nomura.

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Nomura, Y., Funai, Y., Fujimoto, Y. et al. Remifentanil increases the incidence of mesenteric traction syndrome: preliminary randomized controlled trial. J Anesth 24, 669–674 (2010).

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