Background and Objectives. To determine the effect of adding epinephrine (5 μg/ml) to bupivacaine during continuous spinal infusion and the effect of the administration of the same total dose of bupivacaine, in a bilateral or unilateral way, on its consequent plasma levels.
Methods. Sixteen cholecystectomized patients were studied prospectively. In ten patients with midline incision, bilateral pleural infusion (half total unilateral dose in each hemithorax) was administered, and in six patients with subcostal incision, unilateral pleural infusion. The unilateral group received a loading dose of 20 ml 0.375% bupivacaine immediately followed by an infusion at a rate of 6 ml/hour. Three patients randomly received epinephrine (5 μg/ml) added to bupivacaine, whereas the other three remaining patients did not receive it. The bilateral group received 10 ml 0.375% bupivacaine followed by an infusion at a rate of 3 ml/hour in each hemithorax. Five patients randomly received epinephrine; five others did not. The plasma levels of bupivacaine were determined at 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes and at 6 and 18 hours.
Results. Plasma levels of bupivacaine were significantly lower ( p < 0.05) during the whole study in patients receiving epinephrine. For the same total dose, there were no statistical differences in the plasma levels of bupivacaine between unilateral and bilateral pleural groups.
Conclusions. The addition of epinephrine (5 μg/ml) to a continuous pleural infusion of bupivacaine diminishes the plasma levels of the local anesthetic. For the same total dose of bupivacaine, there are no differences in the plasma levels obtained between unilateral and bilateral administration.
- anesthetic technique
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Presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia, Bern, September 5-8, 1990.
Supported by a grant from Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias de la Seguridad Social, Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo del Estado Español, Madrid.
The authors acknowledge Dr. Valentín Mazo for his statistical help and Mrs. Assumpció Plana, Mrs. Francisca Rueda, and Mrs. Francisca Rodriguez-Vilchez for their assistance.
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