Lidocaine Infusion Improves the Functionality of Intraoperative Nerve Monitoring During Thyroid Surgery: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blinded Study

Ramasamy Govindarajan, Ajay Shah, Saiganesh Ravikumar, Sunil K. Reddy, Umashankkar Kannan, Amar N. Mukerji, Jasmine G. Cherian, Crista Foster, Dave Livingstone


Background: Intraoperative nerve monitoring (IONM) to assess the recurrent laryngeal nerve function during thyroid surgery is becoming the standard of care across many institutions. The successful deployment and data analysis from the IONM require complete laryngeal relaxation and reflex suppression. We investigated the role of intravenous lidocaine infusion (IVLI) to provide such operating conditions, under a lighter plane of anesthesia and fewer hemodynamic fluctuations.

Methods: Sixty-five patients were randomly assigned to lidocaine group (LG) or placebo group (PG) based on the computer-generated coding developed by the pharmacy department. The study medication (SM) was delivered by the pharmacist in a pre-filled coded syringe to the investigator 30 min prior to the surgery. All the patients were anesthetized by narcotic and inhalation based general anesthesia. The SM was administered at the rate of 1.5mg/kg/h following a loading dose of 1 mg/kg. Dragonfly® laryngeal surface electrode and Nerveana® nerve locator system were used for IONM during surgery.

Results: The proportion of patients requiring lower strength stimulating current (StMC) at 0.5 mA was significantly higher in the LG than in the PG (X2 (1, N = 61) = 10.1615, P = 0.001434). Similarly, the proportion of patients with the drop in the aggregate impedance level (DAIL) by < 50% at the end of surgery was significantly higher in the LG than in the PG (X2 (1, N = 61) = 15.982, P = 0.000064). In addition, the proportion of patients with the hypotensive episodes requiring rescue medications more than twice during surgery was significantly lower in the LG than in the PG (X2 (1, N = 61) = 0.0183, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The enhanced laryngeal relaxation and the reflex suppression afforded by the IVLI could have enabled a lower StMC to elicit a positive signal. The lower StMC promotes less intense laryngeal alterations as evidenced by the lower DAIL in the LG. IVLI can enhance the functionality of the IONM during prolonged operating time and the resultant increased number of IONM stimulations, while providing a stable hemodynamic environment.

J Clin Med Res. 2021;13(4):214-221


IONM; Lidocaine infusion; Recurrent laryngeal nerve monitoring; Thyroid and parathyroid surgery

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