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Cardiac Toxicity of Local Anesthetics in the Intact Isolated Heart Model: A Review
  1. James E. Heavner, D.V.M., Ph.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas.
  1. Reprint requests: James E. Heavner, D.V.M., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, 3601-4th St, Rm. 1C-258, Lubbock, TX 79430. E-mail:


An editorial in 1979 by George Albright about sudden cardiac arrest after regional anesthesia spawned an era of intense research focusing on what local anesthetics do to the heart and how they do it. The ultimate goal of the research was to bring to the clinician long-acting local anesthetics that are less cardiotoxic than ones available before 1979, bupivacaine and etidocaine, in particular. In this article, I will review results of studies of local anesthetic cardiotoxicity using the intact mammalian heart in vitro published after the Albright editorial through 2001.

  • Toxicity
  • Local anesthetic
  • Cardiac
  • In vitro

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  • Presented in part at the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Conference on Local Anesthetic Toxicity, November 17-18, 2001, Miami Beach, Florida.