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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Casati A., Fanelli G., Beccaria P., Aldegheri G., Berti M., Senatore R., Torri G.
University of Milan, IRCCS H S. Raffaele, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care
Background. A low dose of hyperbaric local anaesthetic solution, pencil point needle and slow speed of intrathecal injection have been reported to obtain a unilateral distribution of spinal anaesthesia. This should also minimize cardiovascular effects of spinal block. The aim of this prospective, randomized, parallel group study was to evaluate cardiac performance during unilateral subarachnoid block and to compare it with that produced by standard bilateral spinal anaesthesia.
Methods. With Ethic Committee approval and patients’ consent we studied 30 ASA I-II patients scheduled for one leg surgery. Dural puncture was performed by 25-G Whitacre needle with patients lying in the lateral position and the side to be operated on dependent. Patients then randomly received 8 mg of 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine injected over 80 sec with needle hole orientated towards the dependent side (Unilateral, n=15), or 15 mg of the same solution injected over 6 sec with needle bevel cranially directed (Control, n=15). Only patients of the Unilateral group remained in the lateral position for 15 min. Noninvasive Arterial blood pressure, heart rate, stroke volume index and cardiac index were measured before spinal block (baseline) and then at 5, 15, 30 and 45 min; while sensory and motor blocks were evaluated at 15, 30 and 45 min on both sides.
Results. Unilateral spinal anaesthesia was observed in 11 patients of the Unilateral group (73%). Three patients of the Control group (20%) required colloids for intraoperative hypotension. Mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate decreased from baseline only in the Control group (p=0.001 and p=0.0003 respectively), while heart rate was decreased in Control even when compared to Unilateral group (p=0.01). The stroke volume index was unchanged in the two groups (p=0.22), while the cardiac index showed a 15-20% decrease from baseline in Control group (p=0.001), with a significant decrease at 30 and 45 min when compared to Unilateral (p=0.01).
Discussion. The use of 8 mg of 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine slowly injected through a directional needle provided a spinal block relatively restricted to the operative side with minimal effects on cardiovascular homeostasis.