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Br J Anaesth. 2002 Nov;89(5):702-6.

Spinal anaesthesia: comparison of plain ropivacaine 5 mg ml(-1) with bupivacaine 5 mg ml(-1) for major orthopaedic surgery.

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Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine, The Queen's University of Belfast, Whitla Medical Building, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.



Ropivacaine provides effective spinal anaesthesia for total hip arthroplasty. This study was designed to compare the efficacy and safety of plain ropivacaine with plain bupivacaine for spinal anaesthesia in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty.


Sixty-six patients, ASA I or II, were randomized to receive an intrathecal injection of one of two local anaesthetic solutions. Group R (n=32) received 3.5 ml of ropivacaine 5 mg ml(-1) (17.5 mg). Group B (n=34) received 3.5 ml of bupivacaine 5 mg ml(-1) (17.5 mg). The onset and duration of sensory block at dermatome level T10, maximum upper and lower spread of sensory block and the onset, intensity and duration of motor block were recorded, as were safety data.


Onset of motor and sensory block was rapid with no significant differences between the two groups. The median time of onset of sensory block at the T10 dermatome was 2 min (range 2-5 min) in Group R and 2 min in Group B (range 2-9 min). The median duration of sensory block at the T10 dermatome was 3.0 h (range 1.5-4.6 h) in Group R and 3.5 h (2.7-5.2 h) in Group B (P<0.0001). The median duration of complete motor block (modified Bromage Scale 3) was significantly shorter in the ropivacaine group compared with the bupivacaine group (2.1 vs 3.9 h, P<0.001).


Intrathecal administration of either 17.5 mg plain ropivacaine or 17.5 mg plain bupivacaine was well tolerated and an adequate block for total hip arthroplasty was achieved in all patients. A more rapid postoperative recovery of sensory and motor function was seen in Group R compared with Group B.

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