To investigate the endocrine stress response in patients undergoing major surgery with general anesthesia using a balanced technique with sufentanil, isoflurane and midazolam up to the second postoperative day, blood levels of cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, prolactin and growth hormone were determined in 68 males for elective coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. Intraoperatively, during extracorporeal circulation none of the measured parameters were significantly increased compared to preoperative values. The endocrine response of patients with perioperative epinephrine medication (n = 32) was not significant different to patients that did not receive exogenous epinephrine (n = 36). On the evening of the day of surgery, levels of cortisol (3 fold), epinephrine (4.7 fold), norepinephrine (1.7 fold) and growth hormone (16.5 fold) were significantly increased. Compared to preoperative values levels of cortisol (3.3 fold), growth hormone (5.5 fold) and norepinephrine (1.8 fold) remained elevated up to the evening of the second postoperative day. In conclusion, the endocrine stress response in patients undergoing CABG-surgery under general anesthesia with sufentanil, midazolam, isoflurane is intraoperatively prevented by anesthesia. Although hemodilution or hormone degradation might be responsible for the lack of an increase in endocrine parameters during CPB, this study indicates that a balanced technique with isoflurane, sufentanil and midazolam is more effective in blocking the endocrine stress response than previously described anesthetic techniques. In the early postoperative period, a sharp increase in cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine and growth hormone occurred suggesting that the predominant endocrine stress response begins in the intensive care unit with end of anesthesia. The postoperative elevated levels of cortisol, growth hormone and norepinephrine indicate a persisting stress-response for more than two days after surgical trauma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)12-9
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.1998


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