Background: Pain and discomfort during the awake phase in awake craniotomy should be relieved to facilitate brain mapping. Although some anaesthesiologists use low-dose (0.01-0.05 µg/kg/min) remifentanil infusion to provide analgesia during this phase, its efficacy and side effects have never been evaluated. Therefore, this study primarily aimed to investigate the effects of low-dose remifentanil infusion on the need for antiemetic treatment during brain mapping and secondarily aimed to determine its effects on the need for additional analgesic treatment. Methods: This retrospective study included 218 patients who underwent awake craniotomy at our centre from 2008 to 2018. The relationship between low-dose remifentanil infusion during the awake phase and the requirement for analgesic or antiemetic treatment was examined. A multivariable competing risk regression analysis was performed to adjust for patient and operative variables. Results: Sixty-six patients (30.3%) received low-dose (median rate: 0.01 µg/kg/min) remifentanil infusion during the awake phase. Forty-nine patients (22.5%) received an antiemetic and 99 (45.4%) received additional analgesic treatment. The difference in additional analgesic treatment was not significant between patients who received low-dose remifentanil infusion and those who did not (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 0.75-1.70; P =.570); however, the use of antiemetics significantly increased in patients who received remifentanil (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.78; 95% confidence interval: 1.01-3.15; P =.047). Conclusion: Low-dose remifentanil infusion during the awake phase in awake craniotomy significantly increased the need for antiemetics but did not decrease the need for additional analgesic treatment.
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