Purpose: Fentanyl is a strong µ-opioid analgesic which attenuates the stimulation of surgical invasion and tracheal intubation. However, intravenous fentanyl often induces coughing [fentanyl-induced coughing (FIC)] during induction of anesthesia. We found that the swallowing action, when requested at induction of anesthesia, attenuated FIC. In the current study, we investigated the relationship between the occurrence of FIC and the swallowing action. Methods: The study included American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I or II patients, aged 20–64 years, who were undergoing elective surgery. They were divided into two groups—one group was urged to perform the swallowing action immediately before intravenous fentanyl (S group), and the other group performed no swallowing action (non-S group). The patients first received intravenous fentanyl and were observed for 90 s. Each patient’s background, dose of fentanyl and occurrence of coughing were investigated from their records and a motion picture recording. The incidence of FIC was evaluated by chi-squared test, and severity was tested by Wilcoxon rank-sum test. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The incidence of FIC in the S group and non-S group was 14.0 and 40.4%, respectively. The risk of FIC was reduced in the S group by 75%; risk ratio (95% confidence interval) was 0.35 (0.20, 0.60). The number of coughs in the S group were less than in the non-S group (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The swallowing action immediately before intravenous fentanyl may be a simple and clinically feasible method for preventing FIC effectively. Clinical trial number: UMIN000012086 (https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr/ctr.cgi?function=brows&action=brows&type=summary&recptno=Rn000014126&language=J).
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