BACKGROUND: Total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) is by definition a technique involving the induction and maintenance of the anesthetic state with intravenous drugs alone. In particular, propofol and opioid and muscle relaxants allow enhanced control of the state of anesthesia for the entire duration of the surgical procedure. We evaluated the clinical usefulness of TIVA with fixed fentanyl concentration 3 ng/ml using isoconcentration nomogram and titrated propofol for coronary artery bypass graft. METHODS: Anesthesia was induced using 1% propofol mixed with lidocaine 0.5 mg/kg and ephedrine 10 mg (150 ml/hr) until loss of consciousness in 19 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft. Infusion rate of propofol was adjusted in response to blood pressure and pulse rate. To achieve constant fentanyl concentration, infusion rate of fentanyl was changed timely according to isoconcentration nomogram. Infusion of propofol and fentanyl was discontinued 15 and 30 min before predictable end of surgery, respectively. Intraoperative hemodynamics, recovery profile and postoperative analgesic requirements were checked. RESULTS: Overall intraoperative hemodynamics including cardiac index and PCWP showed no significant changes compared with preinduction control value except during CPB period. Average flow rate of propofol and fentanyl was 3.4 0.2 mg/kg/hr and 2.8 0.4 g/kg/hr, respectively. Spontaneous eye opening time was 96.4 min after discontinuation of fentanyl. More than 80% (16/19) of patients did not require any analgesic during first postoperative 24hrs for pain relief. CONCLUSIONS: TIVA with propofol and fentanyl (3 ng/ml) could be a suitable and safe anesthetic technique for coronary artery bypass graft.