Wheezing during induction of general anesthesia in patients with and without asthma: A randomized, blinded trial

R. Pizov, R. H. Brown, Y. S. Weiss, D. Baranov, H. Hennes, S. Baker, C. A. Hirshman

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137 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with asthma who require general anesthesia and tracheal intubation are at increased risk for the development of bronchospasm during induction. The incidence of wheezing during induction with different intravenously administered agents is unknown. A randomized, double-blinded prospective study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence of wheezing in asymptomatic asthmatic and nonasthmatic patients receiving three commonly used intravenous anesthetic agents for induction of anesthesia. Methods: Fifty-nine asymptomatic asthmatic and 96 nonasthmatic patients of ASA physical status 1 and 2 were studied. All patients received 1.5 μg/kg fentanyl, oxygen, followed by either 5 mg/kg thiopental or thiamylal, 1.75 mg/kg methohexital or 2.5 mg/kg propofol, 1.5 mg/kg succinylcholine, tracheal intubation, and inhalational anesthesia. Wheezing was assessed by an independent blinded observer auscultating the lungs at 2 and 5 min postintubation. Data were analyzed by Pearson's chi-squared, Fisher's exact test, and multiple logistic regression with significance set at P < 0.05. Results: Both asthmatic and nonasthmatic patients who received a thiobarbiturate for induction had a greater incidence of wheezing than did patients receiving propofol. In asthmatic patients, 45% (23, 67) (mean and 95% confidence interval) who received a thiobarbiturate, 26% (8, 44) who received an oxybarbiturate, and none (0, 17) who received propofol wheezed after intubation. In nonasthmatic patients, 16% (3, 28) who received thiobarbiturate and 3% (0, 9) who received propofol wheezed. Conclusions: This study suggests that propofol should be considered for induction of anesthesia in patients, particularly those with asthma, who require timely intubation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1116
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995


  • Anesthetics, intravenous: methohexital; propofol; thiamylal; thiopental
  • Asthma: bronchospasm; wheezing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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