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Prophylactic intravenous bolus ephedrine for elective Caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia

  • J. P. R. Loughrey (a1), F. Walsh (a2) and J. Gardiner (a1)

Abstract

Background and objective: To evaluate the efficacy and optimal dose of prophylactic intravenous ephedrine for the prevention of maternal hypotension associated with spinal anaesthesia for Caesarean section.

Methods: After patients had received an intravenous preload of 0.5 L of lactated Ringer's solution, spinal anaesthesia was administered in the sitting position with hyperbaric bupivacaine 2.5 mL 0.5% combined with 25 μg fentanyl. A total of 68 patients were randomized to receive a simultaneous 2 mL bolus intravenously of either 0.9% saline (Group C, n = 20), ephedrine 6 mg (Group E-6, n = 24), or ephedrine 12 mg (Group E-12, n = 22). Further rescue boluses of ephedrine 6 mg were given if systolic arterial pressure fell to below 90 mmHg, greater than 30% below baseline, or if symptoms suggestive of hypotension were reported.

Results: There was a significantly higher incidence of hypotension in Group C (60% patients) compared to Group E-12 (27%), but not in Group E-6 (50%). The 95% Confidence Interval for the difference in proportions between Groups C and E-12 was 6-60%, P < 0.05. Fewer rescue boluses of ephedrine were required in Group E-12 compared with Group C (1.8 ± 1.2 vs. 3.3 ± 2.1, P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the incidence of maternal nausea or vomiting, or of neonatal acidaemia between groups.

Conclusion: A prophylactic bolus of ephedrine 12 mg intravenously given at the time of intrathecal block, plus rescue boluses, leads to a lower incidence of hypotension following spinal anaesthesia for elective Caesarean section compared to intravenous rescue boluses alone.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to: J. P. R. Loughrey, Department of Anesthesia, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital, 75 Francis St., Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. E-mail: jloughrey@eircom.net; Tel: +1 617 732 8210; Fax: +1 617 731 5453

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Prophylactic intravenous bolus ephedrine for elective Caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia

  • J. P. R. Loughrey (a1), F. Walsh (a2) and J. Gardiner (a1)

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