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Anesthesiology. 1992 Aug;77(2):286-90.

Painful stimulation minimally increases the thermoregulatory threshold for vasoconstriction during enflurane anesthesia in humans.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0648.


Generalized autonomic stimulation enhances hemodynamic responses and may, in a similar fashion, facilitate thermoregulatory responses. We thus tested the hypothesis that painful stimulation increases the central temperature threshold for vasoconstriction during general anesthesia. Healthy volunteers were anesthetized with 1.3% end-tidal enflurane on 2 separate days. On 1 day (randomly assigned), painful stimulation was produced by tetanic electrical stimulation. On the other day, electrical stimulation was not given. Significant thermoregulatory vasoconstriction was defined as a forearm-fingertip skin-surface temperature gradient exceeding 4 degrees C. The distal esophageal temperature triggering significant vasoconstriction was considered the thermoregulatory threshold. The threshold was 35.5 +/- 0.8 degrees C during electrical stimulation and 35.1 +/- 0.6 degrees C without stimulation (P = 0.050, 95% confidence interval for the difference = 0-0.7 degree C). These data suggest that thresholds determined in nonsurgical volunteers will be slightly (but not clinically significantly) less than those in operative patients. Similarly, intraoperative vasoconstriction thresholds likely will be slightly less when surgical pain is prevented by simultaneous regional or local analgesia.

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