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Anesth Analg. 1999 Feb;88(2):378-81.

Beta-adrenergic blockers and vasovagal episodes during shoulder surgery in the sitting position under interscalene block.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York 10021, USA.

Abstract

Shoulder surgery is often performed with patients in the sitting position under interscalene block anesthesia. Vasovagal episodes, characterized by a sudden decrease in heart rate and/or blood pressure, have a reported incidence of 17%-24% in this setting. We performed a retrospective study to determine whether there was an association between the use of beta-adrenergic blockers and the incidence of these episodes. Of the 150 patients identified, 20 (13.3%) had a vasovagal event. Similar proportions of patients had received a beta-adrenergic blocker in the group who had a vasovagal event compared with those who did not (20% vs 18%; P = 0.95). No other differences could be identified. We conclude that vasovagal episodes occur frequently in this setting with no identifiable risk factors. Beta-adrenergic blockers were not associated retrospectively with either an increased or decreased incidence of these episodes. The most likely mechanism involves the Bezold-Jarisch reflex.

IMPLICATIONS:

In this retrospective study of 150 patients who underwent shoulder surgery in the sitting position under interscalene block, we found a 13% incidence of vasovagal episodes. Unlike a previous study, this was not affected by the use of beta-blockers. A randomized, prospective study is necessary to clarify this issue.

PMID:
9972760
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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