PURPOSE: Intense neuromuscular block may improve surgical conditions in ileus laparotomies; however, it is difficult to evaluate. The aim of this study was to investigate if neuromuscular block improved surgical conditions in pigs with artificial ileus laparotomy. METHODS: Six pigs were endotracheally intubated, mechanically ventilated, anesthetized with propofol and fentanyl, and randomized into two groups in a cross-over assessor-blinded design. Neuromuscular block was established with rocuronium. Artificial laparotomy for ileus was performed. We investigated the influence of intense neuromuscular block on surgical conditions with a subjective rating scale, force needed to close the fascia, incidences of abdominal contractions while suctioning the lungs, width of the wound diastase and operating time as outcome parameters. RESULTS: In all six pigs no abdominal contractions occurred while suctioning the lungs at intense neuromuscular block. Without neuromuscular block we detected abdominal contractions seen as hiccups and bucking. In all six pigs during intense neuromuscular block we found no visible electromyographic (EMG) activity in the abdominal muscles while suctioning the lungs. Without neuromuscular block suctioning the lungs elicited brief periods of abdominal EMG activity. No difference was found in the force needed to close the fascia when comparing no neuromuscular block with intense neuromuscular block. Furthermore, no significant differences were found in the width of the diastase, operating time and subjective ratings using a four-point rating scale when comparing no neuromuscular block with intense neuromuscular block. However, these outcomes were related to the order of the suturing round. CONCLUSION: Intense neuromuscular block prevented abdominal muscle contractions but did not influence the force needed to close the fascia.
Journal of Anesthesia, 2015, Vol 29, Issue 1, p. 15-20