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Effect of i.v. phenylephrine or ephedrine on the ED50 of intrathecal bupivacaine with fentanyl for Caesarean section.

Author(s): Hennebry MC, Stocks GM, Belavadi P, Barnes J, Wray S, Columb MO, Lyons G

Affiliation(s): Department of Anaesthesia, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK.

Publication date & source: 2009-06, Br J Anaesth., 102(6):806-11. Epub 2009 May 2.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: Prophylactic infusion of phenylephrine to prevent hypotension at Caesarean section has been shown to decrease the rostral spread of intrathecal plain levobupivacaine and intrathecal hyperbaric bupivacaine by a median of two dermatomes compared with ephedrine. The aim of this study was to determine the median effective dose (ED50) of intrathecal bupivacaine required to achieve a block to touch at the xiphisternum in patients undergoing Caesarean section when phenylephrine or ephedrine are used to prevent hypotension. METHODS: Seventy women were randomized in two groups to receive either phenylephrine at a rate of 16.6 microg min(-1) (concentration 1microg ml(-1)) or ephedrine at a rate of 1.5 mg min(-1) (concentration 90 microg ml(-1)). Patients received varying doses of hyperbaric bupivacaine with fentanyl 25 microg using a double-blinded, up-down sequential allocation design. Effective doses were defined as anaesthesia to touch with ethyl chloride spray to the xiphisternum within 20 min. RESULTS: The ED50 estimates of bupivacaine were similar in the two groups: 7.8 mg [95% confidence interval (CI) 6.7-8.9] with phenylephrine and 7.6 mg (95% CI 6.8-8.4) with ephedrine. Systolic blood pressure control was similar (P=0.18) with vasopressors but heart rate was higher with ephedrine (P=0.0014). CONCLUSIONS: Under the conditions of this study, we have shown that when phenylephrine or ephedrine were used to prevent post-spinal hypotension, the dosing requirement of hyperbaric bupivacaine was similar for intrathecal anaesthesia.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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