Synthetic Opiates

The most common anesthetic agents used during cardiac surgery are the opiates, specifically fentanyl and sufenta. These are synthetic compounds which have relatively little effect on ventricular function and thus maintain hemodynamic stability. However, large doses of fentanyl or sufenta may cause severe bradycardia, particularly if the patient is receiving beta blockers or calcium channel blockers. This bradycardia is most likely due to parasympathetic simulation. Large doses of these opiates can, in the absence of muscle relaxants, cause thoracic muscle rigidity and the resultant "stiff chest syndrome" which may result in difficulties with controlled ventilation. This muscle rigidity is thought to be mediated by the central nervous system.

Your Heart and Nutrition

Your Heart and Nutrition

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