A randomized comparison of propofol and methohexital
as general anesthetics for vacuum abortion

Lichtenberg ES, Hill LJ, Howe M, Heber W, Peipert JF.
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
Northwestern University Medical Center,
Chicago, IL 60630, USA.
Contraception. 2003 Sep;68(3):211-7


The objective of this study was to determine whether propofol and methohexital differ in their efficacy, acceptability, cost and side effects when used as the single anesthetic agent for inducing general anesthesia in first-trimester vacuum abortion. We randomized 400 unpremedicated American Society of Anesthesiologists grade I-II women to receive 1% propofol or 1% methohexital by intravenous bolus infusion during abortion. No ancillary anesthetic or adjunctive drugs were used. Visual analogue scale scores were used to grade preoperative patient anxiety and the quality of the anesthetic experience. All personnel outside the operating suites, except the data analyst, were blinded. Chi2, median, analysis of variance and Student's t-tests were used, as appropriate. There were no statistically significant differences in age, gravidity, parity, spontaneous and induced abortion, body mass index or gestational age. Mean total operating time and total drug dose were similar. Propofol use resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of postoperative nausea (11.5% vs. 17.5%) or vomiting (3.5% vs. 7.0%) with a combined p (mean difference) = 0.002 (95% confidence interval of the mean difference 1.8%, 17.2%). Both the nursing and patient appraisals of the quality of the anesthetic experience favored propofol, but only the nursing scores reached statistical significance (p < 0.001). The cost differential was more than twofold greater for propofol patients, 9.51 dollars vs. 4.42 dollars. In our population of midwestern patients in a major urban area, propofol use had modest advantages over methohexital when used as single agents as judged by first recovery charge nurses, but patients found them equally acceptable.
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and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World