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Muscle relaxants suitable for day case surgery

  • G. Geldner (a1) and H. Wulf (a1)


Neuromuscular blocking agents are used as adjuvants in day case anaesthesia to facilitate tracheal intubation and/or surgery. Although the majority of day case procedures are performed without the use of neuromuscular blocking agents, there are procedures, such as laparoscopic surgery, microsurgery, open eye surgery, some ear, nose and throat procedures and some paediatric procedures, which may require neuromuscular blockade. The characteristics of an ideal neuromuscular blocking agent for day case surgery are a short onset, a short clinical duration and a short recovery time, with or without reversal. It should also lack histamine release, provide haemodynamic stability, and be competitively priced. This paper reviews the neuromuscular blocking agents currently available and used, such as succinylcholine and mivacurium, low doses of an intermediate-acting neuromuscular block, such as rocuronium and the recently introduced rapacuronium. Their advantages and disadvantages are described and discussed, with special reference to the needs of day case surgery. Rapacuronium offers certain benefits compared with the currently available neuromuscular blocking agents for day care anaesthesia.


Corresponding author

Correspondence: G. Geldner (E-mail:



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