Computer-assisted continuous infusion (CACI) is a pharmacokinetic model-driven infusion device that enables physicians to administer intravenous (iv) drugs in a quantitative fashion, specifying a theoretical blood or plasma concentration. This study evaluated the accuracy of CACI administration of fentanyl using a newly developed CACI device programmed with a well-known set of pharmacokinetic parameters for fentanyl. Patients received diazepam 1 or 2 h before surgery. Anesthesia was induced by a combination of 70% N2O and fentanyl administered by CACI to a predicted concentration of 15-25 ng.ml-1. After neuromuscular blockade and tracheal intubation, the desired plasma fentanyl concentration (setpoint) entered into CACI was 3-6 ng.ml-1, and then the setpoint fentanyl concentration was titrated according to strict criteria of adequate or inadequate anesthesia. Plasma samples for subsequent assay of fentanyl concentration then were taken: at predefined stimuli, when inadequate anesthesia occurred, or 5 min before an anticipated decrease in the fentanyl setpoint. The predictive accuracy of CACI was assessed by calculating for each patient the tenth, 50th, and 90th percentile of the performance error and absolute performance error from each measured and predicted plasma sample pair. Cumulative probability functions for each of these were then plotted. Precision was defined as the dispersion of the tenth to 90th percentile of the median percent performance error for the population and was found to be -31-26%. The median population performance error was -4%, and the median population absolute performance error was 21%. It was concluded that a CACI device using a single set of pharmacokinetic parameters can provide sufficient accuracy within a relatively homogeneous patient population to allow fentanyl to be administered to a concentration (rather than dose) that provides the desired therapeutic effect.
(C) 1990 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.