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In British journal of anaesthesia ; h5-index 72.0

BACKGROUND : The majority of postoperative patients report moderate to severe pain, possibly related to opioid underdosing or overdosing during surgery. Objective guidance of opioid dosing using the Nociception Level (NOL) index, a multiparameter artificial intelligence-driven index designed to monitor nociception during surgery, may lead to a more appropriate analgesic regimen, with effects beyond surgery. We tested whether NOL-guided opioid dosing during general anaesthesia results in less postoperative pain.

METHODS : In this two-centre RCT, 50 patients undergoing abdominal surgery under fentanyl/sevoflurane anaesthesia were randomised to NOL-guided fentanyl dosing or standard care in which fentanyl dosing was based on haemodynamics. The primary endpoint of the study was postoperative pain assessed in the PACU.

RESULTS : Median postoperative pain scores were 3.2 (inter-quartile range 1.3-4.3) and 4.8 (3.0-5.3) in NOL-guided and standard care groups, respectively (P=0.006). Postoperative morphine consumption (standard deviation) was 0.06 (0.07) mg kg-1 (NOL-guided group) and 0.09 (0.09) mg kg-1 (control group; P=0.204). During surgery, fentanyl dosing was not different between groups (NOL-guided group: 6.4 [4.2] μg kg-1vs standard care: 6.0 [2.2] μg kg-1, P=0.749), although the variation between patients was greater in the NOL-guided group (% coefficient of variation 66% in the NOL-guided group vs 37% in the standard care group).

CONCLUSIONS : Despite absence of differences in fentanyl and morphine consumption during and after surgery, a 1.6-point improvement in postoperative pain scores was observed in the NOL-guided group. We attribute this to NOL-driven rather than BP- and HR-driven fentanyl dosing during anaesthesia.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION : under identifier NL7845.

Meijer Fleur, Honing Maarten, Roor Tessa, Toet Samantha, Calis Paul, Olofsen Erik, Martini Chris, van Velzen Monique, Aarts Leon, Niesters Marieke, Boon Martijn, Dahan Albert


nociception, nociception level-guided anaesthesia, opioid, postoperative pain, stress hormones