[en] Anesthetic techniques and treatment of cardiac surgery patients have considerably evolved over the past twenty years. The demand for cardiac surgical procedures is increasing. This demand coincides with a change in the profile of patients presenting for surgery, requiring modification in perioperative management strategies. Several new anesthetics, related drugs, and technologies have become available in recent years that inevitably have made new approaches with patient management possible. In parallel to these new developments, there have appeared real opportunities to apply novel physiologic and pharmacologic concepts that may redefine our clinical practice. Fast-tracking, which emphasizes the major role of anesthetic management in postoperative outcome, is one such line of investigation. Fast-tracking was first introduced in an attempt to decrease the time to tracheal extubation and reduce expensive time in intensive care unit areas. Large doses of opioids have been clearly identified as a factor in delaying weaning from mechanical ventilatory support after cardiac surgery. Thus, early investigations emphasized the importance of limiting the dose of potent opioid analgesics during the intraoperative period to achieve early recovery. Supplementation with hypnotic drugs allows reduction of the opioid dose, enabling earlier extubation without compromising hemodynamic stability. Fast track cardiac anesthesia (FTCA) is becoming an accepted practice for perioperative management of cardiac surgical patients. FTCA is a key component to successful conduction of fast-track cardiac surgery. Also, analgesia management in cardiac surgery is becoming more important with the establishment of minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass surgery and fast track management of conventional cardiac surgery patients.