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Anesthesiology. 1997 Jul;87(1):75-81.

Direct effects of ropivacaine and bupivacaine on spinal pial vessels in canine. Assessment with closed spinal window technique.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Gifu University School of Medicine, Japan.



Ropivacaine produces a vasoconstriction of cutaneous vessels in contrast to vasodilation produced by bupivacaine. To evaluate direct spinal microvascular actions of these local anesthetics, the authors investigated the concentration-related effects of ropivacaine and bupivacaine on spinal pial vascular diameters using the spinal window technique.


Anesthetized dogs (n = 14) divided into two groups (ropivacaine, n = 7; bupivacaine, n = 7) were prepared for measurement of spinal pial vessel diameters by intravital microscopy in a spinal window preparation. The authors administered six concentrations of each drug (10(-8)-10(-3) M) under the window and directly measured the spinal pial arteriolar and venular diameters at sequential times. Physiologic data including mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) were determined before and after topical application of each concentration of the drugs. In additional experiments (n = 18), the action of topical ropivacaine and bupivacaine solution on spinal vessels was evaluated in the presence of yohimbine, prazosin, and propranolol.


Ropivacaine significantly constricted whereas bupivacaine dilated pial arterioles and venules, both in a concentration-dependent manner. Microvascular alteration was not blocked with any of the adrenoceptor antagonists tested (yohimbine, prazosin, propranolol), each of which per se did not affect pial vessel diameters. Topical application of ropivacaine or bupivacaine did not induce any change in MAP or HR.


The present results indicate that ropivacaine constricts and bupivacaine dilates the pial vessels of the spinal cord in a concentration-dependent fashion, and the mechanisms involved in such actions do not seem to be mediated via alpha- or beta-adrenoceptor of spinal vasculature.

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