Purpose: Methohexital and propofol have been shown to be effective agents for continuous intravenous infusion to produce conscious sedation during oral surgical procedures. The current study was conducted to compare these techniques for intraoperative cardiopulmonary stability, patient cooperation, amnesia, comfort, recovery time, and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Methods: Seventy ASA Class I or Class II patients between the ages of 18 and 40 years, scheduled for surgical extraction of impacted third molars, were entered into the study. Thirty-five patients were assigned to group A (methohexital) and 35 were assigned to group B (propofol). Intravenous sedation was accomplished using premedication with 1.5 μg/kg of fentanyl and 0.05 mg/kg of midazolam followed by the continuous infusion of methohexital or propofol at a rate of 50 μg/kg/min. The infusion was then titrated to 100 μg/kg/min to accomplish a level of sedation in which the eyes were closed and the patients were responsive to verbal commands. Subjects were monitored for variability of heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, amnesia, comfort, cooperation, nausea and vomiting, and recovery time based on cognitive, perceptual, and psychomotor tests. Results: There was no statistical difference between the two medication groups except for heart rate, which was found to increase by 11 beats/min for group A and only three beats/rain in group B. Conclusion: A continuous infusion technique using either methohexital or propofol (50 to 100 μg/kg/min) was found to be safe and effective, with no clinically significant differences in cooperation, cardiopulmonary stability, recovery time, amnesia, comfort, and the incidence of nausea or vomiting. However, the cost-effectiveness of methohexital is superior to that of propofol.
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