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Anesth Analg. 1995 Apr;80(4):735-9.

The effects of epinephrine on lidocaine spinal anesthesia: a cross-over study.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98111.


The efficacy of epinephrine for prolonging the duration of lidocaine spinal anesthesia remains controversial. Seven volunteers were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive two 50-mg lidocaine (in dextrose 7.5%) spinal anesthetics with and without epinephrine (0.2 mg). Sensory analgesia was assessed with transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) equivalent to surgical incision and compared to standard pinprick dermatomal levels. Motor block was assessed with surface electromyography (EMG) and isometric force dynamometry. Intravenous fluids were administered by a standardized regimen, and time until ability to void was determined. Addition of epinephrine significantly prolonged duration of surgical anesthesia in the lumbar and sacral dermatomes by an average of 16-29 min (P = 0.03), but not in thoracic dermatomes. Although there was a trend toward prolongation of motor block with addition of epinephrine, this did not reach statistical significance. Epinephrine significantly prolonged duration until ability to void from 153 +/- 27 to 234 +/- 50 min (P = 0.0001). Thus, addition of epinephrine to lidocaine may be indicated to prolong duration of anesthesia for lower body operations. However, delayed recovery of ability to void may also prolong time until discharge after ambulatory surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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