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Int J Obstet Anesth. 1996 Jan;5(1):3-7.

Advance prediction of hypotension at cesarean delivery under spinal anesthesia.

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Sir Humphry Davy Department of Anaesthesia, St Michael's Hospital, Bristol, UK.


Cardiovascular responses to supine inferior vena cava compression might predict hypotension risk during elective cesarean delivery using spinal anesthesia. In this pilot study we investigated 27 women before operation by taking blood pressure and heart rate measurements for 5 min in the left lateral position, 5 min supine, and then performed one further reading in the left lateral position and one sitting. Anesthesia with hyperbaric bupivacaine was rigorously standardised. A pre-operative 'supine stress test', combining an increase in maternal heart rate of greater than 10 beats/min or leg flexion movements while supine, was analysed. A positive supine stress test (SST) was 4.1 times more frequent in those with severe systolic hypotension below 70% of baseline (12 out of 16 women) than in those without (2 out of 11 women), with a sensitivity of 75% (95% C.I. 48% to 93%) and specificity of 82% (95% C.I. 48% to 98%). A positive test was associated with twice as much vasopressor use as a negative test (30.7 +/-/14.5 mg versus 13.5 +/-/ 9.9 mg; P = 0.0014). Unlike the SST, cardiovascular responses to the change from recumbent to sitting (tilt test) were not useful as a predictor of hypotension.

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