An economic evaluation of propofol/fentanyl compared with midazolam/fentanyl on recovery in the ICU following cardiac surgery

K M Sherry, J McNamara, J S Brown, M Drummond

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A comparison was made of the drug costs and nursing dependency of patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery and routine postoperative recovery for two anaesthetic techniques using either propofol with low dose fentanyl or midazolam with high dose fentanyl. Estimates of resource use were based on a randomised clinical trial undertaken at the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield. Times from entry to the intensive care unit until extubation and discharge were recorded from 70 patients and were transformed to nursing shifts. Nursing dependency was calculated on the basis of one nurse per ventilated patients and 0.5 nurse from the start of the shift after extubation. Nursing costs were allocated on the basis of the patient's status at the beginning of each shift in line with the hospital's staffing policy. All drugs used from the morning of the operation until discharge were recorded. Costs of nursing and drugs were calculated. The total cost of patients in the propofol group was 13.3% less than midazolam patients (p = 0.043, for geometric means Cl 0.4% to 27.8). The clinical study was not designed for economic endpoints; however, it demonstrated achievable savings in propofol-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
Journal British Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996


  • anaesthesia, cardiac
  • anaesthetics, intravenous, propofol
  • hypnotics, benzodiazepines, midazolam
  • anaesthesia, economics
  • COST

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