Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) surgery is associated with significant postoperative pain. Remifentanil is a short-acting opioid that is often used as a component of total intravenous anesthesia. Remifentanil has been implicated in acute opioid tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia, resulting in increased postoperative pain and opioid consumption. This retrospective study sought to investigate the relationship between the dose of intraoperative remifentanil and cumulative postoperative opioid consumption through 72 hours following surgery for pediatric AIS patients.
We performed a retrospective chart review of adolescent patients undergoing posterior spine instrumentation under total intravenous general anesthesia at a single major pediatric center between January 2015 and October 2017. The relationship between intraoperative cumulative weight-adjusted remifentanil dose and logarithmic transformation of cumulative weight-adjusted opioid consumption through 72 hours following surgery was examined by regression analysis. A priori determined potential confounding variables were collected, including demographic data, perioperative analgesic agents (ie, ketamine, dexmedetomidine, and acetaminophen), surgical duration, vertebrae instrumented, and blood transfusion. Multivariable linear regression analysis was used to adjust for these possible confounding variables.
Eighty-nine patients met inclusion criteria, of which 78 had complete data for analysis. Univariable linear regression analysis revealed no association between remifentanil dose and opioid consumption through 72 hours following surgery (slope = 0.79 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.98; R2 = 0.0039; P = .588]). After adjustment for possible confounding factors, no relationship between remifentanil dose (regression coefficient (coeff.) −0.08; 95% CI, −1.59 to 1.43; P = .912) and opioid consumption through 72 hours was found (slope =0.90 [95% CI, −0.65 to 2.46]; R2 = 0.1634). Similar results were obtained when the model was repeated for opioid consumption in postanesthesia care unit (PACU).
In this study examining adolescent patients undergoing surgery for idiopathic scoliosis, no association was found between the dose of intraoperative remifentanil and postoperative opioid consumption in the context of a propofol-based total intravenous anesthetic and multimodal analgesia. These results provide direction for future prospective controlled studies to further evaluate this relationship.