Intraoperative monitoring with pupillometry has shown promising results for nociception/antinociception balance monitoring. However, its benefits in clinical practice remain unproven. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intraoperative pupillometry monitoring on intraoperative opioid consumption and postoperative pain compared to surgical pleth index (SPI), another widely investigated monitoring.
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I–II patients scheduled for elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were included. This prospective, parallel-arm, single-center study was conducted in 2 steps. First, we evaluated the feasibility of using pupillometry and SPI monitoring compared with conventional hemodynamic monitoring. Next, a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized study compared the peak postoperative pain measured with numerical rating scale (NRS) from 0 (no pain) to 10 (extreme pain) as a primary outcome between pupillometry (pupillometry group, n = 43) and SPI monitoring (SPI group, n = 43) using Mann-Whitney U test. Secondary outcomes included intraoperative remifentanil consumption, postoperative opioid responsiveness (a decrease in NRS by ≥1 after fentanyl administrations), number of analgesic administrations, and opioid-related complications.
In the preliminary study (n = 50), remifentanil consumption was less under pupillometry monitoring compared to SPI monitoring, and peak postoperative pain was lower under pupillometry compared to conventional monitoring. In the main study (n = 86), peak postoperative pain and intraoperative remifentanil consumption were lower in the pupillometry group (median [first to third quartile], 5 [4–6]; mean ± standard deviation [SD], 0.078 ± 0.019 μg·kg−1·minute−1) compared to the SPI group (7 [5–8] and 0.0130 ± 0.051 μg·kg−1·minute−1; P < .001), with the median difference in peak postoperative pain of −1 and its 95% confidence interval between −2 and −0.5. The pupillometry group had better responsiveness to fentanyl (84.6% vs 61.0%; P = .005) and lower number of analgesic administrations (2 [1–2] vs 2 [1–3]; P = .048) compared to the SPI group.
Intraoperative pupillometry monitoring reduced intraoperative remifentanil consumption and postoperative pain. It may be an alternative option for intraoperative opioid control under general anesthesia in adult patients.