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Physiologic Disposition of Local Anesthetics
  1. Bertil J. Löfström, M.D., Ph.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden


The uptake of local anesthetics in different tissues in the body is quantitatively very high, and saturation of the tissues is a slow procedure. Of particular interest is the high and very rapid uptake and release of local anesthetics in the lung. Tissue uptake is a physico-chemical process, similar to the uptake of a local anesthetic in a nerve. The actual mechanism of uptake is not known. Factors such as the pKa of the anesthetic and the pH of blood and the cells are of importance, as is the temperature to a minor degree. The uptake does not involve oxygen consumption. From a clinical point of view it can be stated that the buffering capacity of the lung is so marked that so far no condition has been found where saturation or competition seems to be relevant.

  • Anesthetic(s)
  • local
  • physiologic disposition
  • Tissue uptake
  • release

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  • Address reprint requests to Prof. Löfström: Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital, S‐58185 Linköping, Linköping, Sweden.