An approach to outpatient anesthesia using drugs that have reversible or very short-acting effects is described, along with a method of monitoring patients using pulse rate to assess tranquility. Preoperatively, the patient is given 1 mg of lorazepam the evening before surgery and sublingual lorazepam 1 mg combined with hydroxyzine 50 mg intramuscularly one hour before surgery. Before infiltration of local anesthesia, intravenous diazepam in 2.5 mg increments is given if needed, followed by a mixture of meperidine and pentazocine intravenously in exactly a 10:1 ratio.
Over the last 20 years standardized techniques have been employed for the investigation of intravenous hypnotics, psychotropic and neuroleptic drugs. Sleep has been studied with the help of EEG measures and side-effects have been evaluated by psychometric tests. The EEG is a proven parameter with regard to dosage determination and as objective means to find sleep-inducing quantities of drugs. By means of vigilosomnograms we have established dose-effect curves and have made comparisons between related drugs in the form of equivalence studies.
Thirty-two patients hospitalized for the care of major burns were randomly assigned to groups that received hypnosis, lorazepam, hypnosis with lorazepam, or placebo controls as adjuncts to opioids for the control of pain during dressing changes. Analysis of scores on the Visual Analogue Scale indicated that although pain during dressing changes decreased over consecutive days, assignment to the various treatment groups did not have a differential effect.
The psychiatric morbidity following hysterectomy has received increasing attention. One of the sequelae of hysterectomy has been a brief, acute psychosis with excellent outcome, the etiology and pathomechanism of which is still unclear. Two Chinese patients born of Southeast Asian origin who manifested brief, acute psychosis following hysterectomy are presented. Therapy comprised drug treatment with low dose antipsychotics and benzodiazepines coupled with hypnosis and marital therapy to explore and treat the underlying pathology. Both psychotic states resolved.
The effects of BZ drugs result from interaction at the GABAA receptor within the CNS, producing anxiolysis, hypnosis, and amnesia in a dose-dependent fashion. These sedative effects are best titrated to reproducible clinical endpoints, using scoring systems such as the Ramsay scale. All BZs exhibit similar pharmacologic effects, but the important differences in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics should be recognized to use these drugs safely and effectively within the ICU.
The actions of benzodiazepines are due to the potentiation of the neural inhibition that is mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Practically all effects of the benzodiazepines result from their actions on the ionotropic GABA(A) receptors in the central nervous system. Benzodiazepines do not activate GABA(A) receptors directly but they require GABA. The main effects of benzodiazepines are sedation, hypnosis, decreased anxiety, anterograde amnesia, centrally mediated muscle relaxation and anti-convulsant activity.