Effect of cardiopulmonary bypass on fentanyl distribution and elimination

Adolph J. Koska, Alexander Romagnoli, William G. Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Fentanyl kinetics was studied in two groups of six patients, one group undergoing surgery with and one without cardiopulmonary bypass; the latter served as the controls. Plasma fentanyl concentrations declined biexponentially in the control patients with an average half‐life (t½β) of 3.3 ± 1.1 hr, total plasma clearance of 11.2 ±3.4 ml/min/kg, and volume of distribution (Vdβ) of 3.2 ± 1.5 l/kg. The plasma concentration/time curves were severely disrupted during cardiopulmonary bypass but appeared to regain a log‐linear decay once bypass was complete. This elimination phase had a t½ of 5.2 ± 2.7 hr, longer than that in the control patients. Since fentanyl is eliminated primarily by hepatic metabolism, decreased liver plasma flow observed during and after bypass, as evidenced by a 30% decrease in indocyanine green clearance, may contribute to the extended t½. The prolonged t½ has clinical importance because of potentially prolonged effects and their relation to other drugs and the clinical management of the patient. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1981) 29, 100–105; doi:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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