It has been unknown that up to what extent the hypotension frequently observed following the administration of propofol for the induction of general anesthesia is caused by overdosing propofol.

Propofol is a commonly used intravenous agent for induction and maintenance of general anesthesia. Animal studies have demonstrated that propofol decreases blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner.

The administration of propofol in a dose recommended for induction (1.5–2.5 mg/kg) has been reported since its clinical introduction to be frequently associated with arterial hypotension.

The prevention of arterial hypotension is an important part of anesthetic management due to possible causal effects of arterial hypotension on morbidity and mortality

Unlike clinical signs, electroencephalon-based cerebral monitoring allows to detect and quantify an overdose of hypnotics. Therefore, we tested whether the use of an electroencephalon-based cerebral monitoring will cause less hypotension following induction with propofol.

Methods

Subjects were randomly assigned to a bispectral index (BIS)-guided (target range 40–60) or to a weight-related (2 mg.kg− 1) manual administration of propofol for induction of general anesthesia.

The primary endpoint was the incidence of hypotension following the administration of propofol. Secondary endpoints included the degree of hypotension and correlations between BIS and drop in mean arterial pressure (MAP). Incidences were analyzed with Fisher’s Exact-test.

Results

Of the 240 patients enrolled into this study, 235 predominantly non-geriatric (median 48 years, 25th – 75th percentile 35–61 years) patients without severe concomitant disease (88% American Society of Anesthesiology physical status 1–2) undergoing ear, nose and throat surgery, ophthalmic surgery, and dermatologic surgery were analyzed.

Patients who were manually administered propofol guided by BIS (n = 120) compared to those who were given propofol by weight (n = 115) did not differ concerning the incidence of hypotension (44% vs. 45%; p = 0.87).

Study groups were also similar regarding the maximal drop in MAP compared to baseline (33% vs. 30%) and the proportion of hypotensive events related to all measurements (17% vs. 19%).

Final propofol induction doses in BIS group and NON-BIS group were similar (1.93 mg/kg vs. 2 mg/kg). There was no linear correlation between BIS and the drop in the MAP at all times (r < 0.2 for all) except for a weak one at 6 min (r = 0.221).

Conclusion

Results of our study suggest that a BIS-guided compared to a weight-adjusted manual administration of propofol for induction of general anesthesia in non-geriatric patients will not lower the incidence and degree of arterial hypotension.