The authors determined the pharmacokinetics of sufentanil, 12.5 [mu]g[middle dot]kg-1 iv in patients undergoing elective abdominal aortic surgery. The mean age (+/-SD) of the ten patients was 68.4 +/- 7.9 yr; their mean weight was 74.4 +/- 19.1 kg. Six patients underwent aortobifemoral grafting and four had abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Serum sufentanil concentrations were determined in samples drawn at increasing intervals over a 24-h period. A three-compartment pharmacokinetic model was fit to the concentration versus time data. Total drug clearance was 15.0 +/- 3.2 ml[middle dot]min-1[middle dot]kg-1. The volume of distribution at steady-state (Vd25) was 8.7 +/- 4.5 1 [middle dot] kg-1. The elimination half-time was 12.1 +/- 5.8 h. Both the Vd and the elimination half-time were positively correlated with patient age. There were no significant correlations between the pharmacokinetic variables and the duration of aortic cross-clamping, the duration of surgery, or the rate or total volume of iv fluids given intraoperatively. In general surgical patients, the mean elimination half-time of sufentanil has been reported to be 2.7 h. When sufentanil is used in large doses as the primary anesthetic agent for patients undergoing abdominal aortic surgery, the long elimination half-time observed implies that recovery will take much longer than would have been anticipated from previously published pharmacokinetic data.
(C) 1989 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.