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Intrathecal Low-Dose Bupivacaine Versus Lidocaine for In Vitro Fertilization Procedures
  1. Lawrence C. Tsen, M.D.,
  2. Rodney Schultz, M.D.,
  3. Ramon Martin, M.D., Ph.D.,
  4. Sanjay Datta, M.D. and
  5. Angela M. Bader, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
  1. Reprint requests: Lawrence C. Tsen, M.D., Brigham & Women's Hospital, Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine CWN-L1, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail:


Background and Objectives Recent controversy with the use of intrathecal lidocaine has prompted the search for suitable ambulatory surgery alternatives. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the clinical utility of intrathecal low-dose bupivacaine for outpatient transvaginal oocyte retrieval.

Methods Forty women enrolled and completed our prospective, randomized, double-blinded study of intrathecal hyperbaric bupivacaine 3.75 mg (0.5 mL of 0.75%) with fentanyl 25 μg versus hyperbaric lidocaine 30 mg (2.0 mL of 1.5%) with fentanyl 25 μg. Onset and level of sensory and motor block; time to ambulation, urination, and discharge; and intra- and postoperative complications (hypotension, pruritus, nausea, emesis, postdural puncture headache, post spinal pain syndrome [PSPS]) were recorded. Data were evaluated using analysis of variance, chi-squared, and Mann-Whitney U tests, with P < .05 considered significant.

Results In demographically similar groups, no differences were noted in times to onset and recovery of sensory and motor function, or complications; however, times to voiding and discharge were significantly longer in the bupivacaine group. Four and 2 patients in the bupivacaine and lidocaine groups, respectively, required intravenous analgesic supplementation. One patient in the lidocaine group experienced PSPS.

Conclusions Although prolongation to voiding and discharge was observed, intrathecal hyperbaric bupivacaine 3.75 mg with fentanyl 25 μg is a viable anesthetic for oocyte retrieval.

  • Spinal anesthesia
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Local anesthetic
  • Bupivacaine
  • Lidocaine

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  • Supported by the Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital.

    Presented in part at the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology Annual Meeting, May 19-22, 1999, Denver, Colorado.