Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Bupivacaine-Sparing Effect of Fentanyl in Spinal Anesthesia for Cesarean Delivery
  1. Duck Hwan Choi, M.D., Ph.D.,
  2. Hyun Joo Ahn, M.D. and
  3. Myung Hee Kim, M.D., Ph.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  1. Reprint requests: Duck Hwan Choi, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Samsung Medical Center, 50 Ilwon-Dong, Kang-nam-Ku, Seoul 135-710, Korea. E-mail: dhchoi{at}


Background and Objectives Visceral pain decreases in cesarean patients under spinal anesthesia when the dose of local anesthetic is increased. However, larger doses of local anesthetic are associated with higher sensory blocks. We hypothesized that the addition of fentanyl could reduce the dose of bupivacaine necessary to achieve adequate surgical anesthesia.

Methods Two double-blinded, sequential, prospective studies were performed on 120 patients. In the preliminary study, the patients received 8, 10, or 12 mg of 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine intrathecally. In the second, main study, they received each bupivacaine dose with 10 μg of fentanyl. Each group consisted of 20 patients, and the groups were identified as B8, B10, B12, BF8, BF10, and BF12. Sensory and motor block, intraoperative pain defined by visual analogue scale (VAS), muscle relaxation, and side effects were assessed. We also measured the sensory and motor recovery and the onset of pain in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU).

Results Maximal block level and incidence of high block (≥T1) were higher in the 12-mg groups. There was intraoperative pain in 35% of the B8 patients and 20% of the B10 patients, but none in the B12 patients and all fentanyl groups. Incidences of other side effects were not different. The addition of fentanyl to bupivacaine significantly delayed the onset of postoperative pain and sensory recovery, but motor recovery time did not change with additional fentanyl.

Conclusions The optimal dose of hyperbaric bupivacaine to produce surgical anesthesia was 12 mg, which was accompanied by high sensory block. With the addition of 10 μg of fentanyl, the dose of bupivacaine could be reduced to 8 mg in spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery.

  • Bupivacaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Spinal anesthesia
  • Cesarean delivery

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Presented in part at the 7th Annual Meeting of European Society of Anaesthesiologists (ESA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 31, 1999.