Study objectives: To determine the safety of early extubation (EE) after coronary artery surgery.
Design: Prospective randomized controlled trial.
Setting: The cardiac surgery operating room and ICU of a university-affiliated teaching hospital.
Patients: One hundred eligible patients presenting for elective coronary artery surgery.
Interventions: Patients randomized to the EE group were administered a reduced dose of fentanyl (15 µg/kg) and an anesthetic compatible with EE, while patients randomized to the conventional extubation (CE) group were given fentanyl (50 µg/kg).
Measurements and results: The time to extubation in the EE group (median, 240 min; range, 30 to 930 min) was significantly less than the CE group (median, 420 min; range, 125 to 1,140 min) (p<0.01). Twenty patients were withdrawn from the study according to protocol guidelines. There were no cases of reintubation or complications attributable to EE.
Conclusions: By using an appropriate anesthetic technique and postoperative management, EE can be achieved following coronary artery bypass surgery without major complications.