In Reply:-We thank the Drs. Bevan for their kind remarks, and we agree with most of their comments. However, their final conclusions regarding cost considerations are probably premature. As noted in our Table 2, the times to the first train-of-four (TOF) measurement in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) for pancuronium (30.0 min) versus mivacurium (19.7 min) required an asterisk. [1] These intervals represent whichever came first, the initial TOF value noted in the PACU or the time until the TOF ratio reached a value of 0.90 (as measured in the operating room [OR]). Thus, 52 of 56 patients who received pancuronium had neuromuscular monitoring that continued into the PACU. Only 15 of the 35 patients who received mivacurium required such follow-up evaluation. Consequently, it probably is not correct to assume that 10 min of OR time was “saved” with the mivacurium group.

If the average clinical anesthetist was routinely able to accurately quantitate residual block and defer discharge from the OR until satisfactory recovery of neuromuscular function (TOF greater or equal to 0.70) was present, then we suspect that short- to intermediate-acting relaxants would provide real savings in OR recovery time. Unfortunately, subjective evaluation of the extent of TOF fade is notoriously imprecise. Once the TOF ratio exceeds a ratio of 0.40, most clinicians are unable to detect that any fade exists. [2,3] In the “real world” as Bevan's data [4] nicely demonstrate, after antagonism of pancuronium-induced neuromuscular blockade, 15 min is insufficient time to guarantee satisfactory return of neuromuscular function.

Aaron F. Kopman, M.D.; Jennifer Ng, M.D.; Lee M. Zank, M.D.; George G. Neuman, M.D.; Pamela S. Yee, M.D.

Department of Anesthesiology; St. Vincents Hospital and Medical Center

153 West 11th Street; New York, NY 10011

(Accepted for publication February 5, 1997.)

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