Residual neuromuscular blockade at extubation: A randomized comparison of sugammadex and neostigmine reversal of rocuronium-induced blockade in patients undergoing abdominal surgery

Daniel Sabo, R. Kevin Jones, James Berry, Tod Sloan, Jin Yi Chen, Jovino B. Morte, Scott Groudine

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Residual neuromuscular blockade (NMB) is associated with increased risk of post-operative critical respiratory events. We compared incidence of residual NMB at tracheal extubation after reversal of rocuroniuminduced NMB with sugammadex versus neostigmine. Methods: Adult patients of American Society of Anesthesiologists Class 1-3, scheduled to undergo open abdominal surgery were included. Patients were randomized to receive sugammadex 4.0 mg/kg at ≥1-2 posttetanic counts after last rocuronium dose, or neostigmine 50mg/kg + glycopyrrolate 10mg/kg, according to usual care practices at each institution. Neuromuscular function was assessed using TOF-Watch® SX. Anesthesiologists were blinded to the TOF-Watch recording, except to ask the TOF-Watch operator whether ≥1 PTC had been reached before administering reversal. Use of a peripheral nerve stimulator was permitted. Clinical criteria defined by the institution were used to determine when to perform extubation. Primary efficacy variable was incidence of residual NMB (train-of-four [TOF] ratio <0.9) at extubation. Safety parameters were assessed by a blinded safety assessor. Results: The intent-to-treat group comprised 97 patients (sugammadex, n=51; neostigmine, n=46). Among patients with valid TOF data, a TOF ratio of ≥0.9 was reached at or before extubation in 48 of 50 (96.0%) sugammadex and 17 of 43 (39.5%) neostigmine patients (P<0.0001). One sugammadex (2.0%) and 15 neostigmine patients (34.9%) were extubated at TOF ratios ≤0.7. Median (95% CI) time from study drug administration to recovery to a TOF ratio ≥0.9 was 2.0 (1.8-2.5) minutes for sugammadex (n=49) versus 8.0 (3.8-16.5) minutes for neostigmine (n=18) (P<0.0001). Safety was comparable between groups, with no clinical evidence of recurrence of NMB. Conclusions: Significantly more sugammadex-treated patients recovered to a TOF ratio ≥0.9 at extubation and did so significantly faster than neostigmine-treated patients. This study confirms that sugammadex is more effective than neostigmine in reducing potential for residual blockade in the absence of objective NMB monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Anesthesia and Clinical Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2011



  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Neostigmine
  • Residual neuromuscular blockade
  • Rocuronium
  • Sugammadex
  • TOF-Watch® SX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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