Spinal anaesthesia for elective surgery: a comparison of hyperbaric solutions of racemic bupivacaine, levobupivacaine, and ropivacaine.
Author(s): Luck JF, Fettes PD, Wildsmith JA
Affiliation(s): University Department of Anaesthesia, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD19SY, UK. email@example.com
Publication date & source: 2008-11, Br J Anaesth., 101(5):705-10. Epub 2008 Sep 2.
Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to compare the clinical effects of 'hyperbaric' bupivacaine for spinal anaesthesia with those of similar preparations of levobupivacaine and ropivacaine. METHODS: Sixty ASA grade I-II patients undergoing elective surgery under spinal anaesthesia were randomized to receive 3 ml of bupivacaine, levobupivacaine, or ropivacaine, each at 5 mg ml(-1) and made hyperbaric by the addition of glucose 30 mg ml(-1). A standard protocol was followed after which a blinded observer assessed the sensory and motor blocks. The level and duration of sensory (pinprick) block, intensity and duration of motor block, and time to mobilize and to micturate were also recorded. RESULTS: One patient (ropivacaine group) required general anaesthesia because of technical failure, but all the other blocks were adequate. There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to the mean time to onset of sensory block at T10, the extent of spread, or mean time to maximum spread. Regression of sensory block in the ropivacaine group was more rapid as demonstrated by duration at T10 (P<0.0167) and total duration of sensory block (P<0.0167). Patients in the ropivacaine group had more rapid recovery from motor block (P<0.0167) and shorter times to independent mobilization (P<0.0167). There were no significant differences between the bupivacaine and the levobupivacaine groups. CONCLUSIONS: 'Hyperbaric' ropivacaine provides reliable spinal anaesthesia of shorter duration than bupivacaine or levobupivacaine, both of which are clinically indistinguishable. The recovery profile of ropivacaine may be useful where prompt mobilization is required.