The pharmacokinetics of propofol were studied in 12 healthy Chinese children, aged 4-12 yr, undergoing circumcision under inhalation anaesthesia. All patients received a single i.v. bolus dose of propofol 2.5 mg kg-1 and blood concentrations of propofol over the subsequent 24 h were measured using high pressure liquid chromatography with fluorimetric detection. Data were consistent with a three-compartment model with a mean (SEM) elimination half-life of 209 (29) min and total body clearance of 40.4 (3.6) ml min-1 kg-1. The mean (SEM) apparent volume of distribution at steady state was 5.0 (2.7) litre kg-1 and volume of the central compartment was 0.6 (0.1 ) litre kg-1. The mean (SEM) ratio of k12:k21 was 1.4 (0.2), suggesting that, after injection of a single bolus dose in children, propofol is distributed rapidly to the shallow compartment. The mean ratio of k31:k10 suggests that lipophilicity constrains return of the drug to the central compartment.
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