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Remifentanil target-controlled infusion: A safe rescue protocol for unexpected severe postoperative pain

Cyrus Motamed, MD, Grégoire Weil, MD, Frederic Deschamps, MD, Valérie Billard, MD


Three cases are reported here in which remifentanil administered as a target-controlled infusion (TCI) was used in Post Anesthesia Care Unit as a fast rescue treatment for acute and unexpected severe postoperative pain, allowing subsequent clinical evaluation and rational titration of analgesia with longer acting opioids. It illustrates the efficacy of this technique to titrate and compensate for variability in opioid requirements. However, its safety requires full knowledge of TCI technique, continuous monitoring of respiratory function, and assisted ventilation equipment immediately available.


remifentanil, severe postoperative pain, target-controlled infusion, respiratory depression

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