BACKGROUND: Intravascular application of a small dose of local anesthetics (LA) with epinephrine as well as larger doses of LA under sevoflurane anesthesia results in increase in T-wave amplitude in the electrocardiogram (ECG). The aim of this study was to elucidate whether propofol anesthesia affects these ECG alterations or not.
METHODS: Thirty neonatal pigs were randomized into two groups. Group 1 was anesthetized with sevoflurane, group 2 with sevoflurane plus continuous propofol infusion (10 mg·kg(-1)·h(-1)). A test dose of 0.2 ml·kg(-1) bupivacaine 0.125% + epinephrine 1 : 200,000 was injected intravenously. Arterial pressure was monitored. ECG was analyzed for changes in T-wave amplitude (positive if ≥25% baseline) and heart rate. In another setting, bupivacaine 0.125% was intravenous infused at a rate of 4 mg·kg(-1)·min(-1). ECG was analyzed for alteration in T-wave amplitude and heart rate at 1.25, 2.5, and 5 mg·kg(-1) bupivacaine infused.
RESULTS: T-wave elevation after the administration of an epinephrine containing LA test dose was similar between the two groups. Increase in heart rate caused by the test dose were significantly higher in group 2 (P = 0.008). During continuous bupivacaine administration, T-wave elevation occurred in 40% and 71% (group 1 and 2) at 1.25 mg·kg(-1), in 80% and 100% at 2.5 mg·kg(-1), and in 93% and 86% at 5 mg·kg(-1) bupivacaine infused.
CONCLUSION: Continuous propofol infusion does not suppress the ECG signs of a systemically administered epinephrine containing LA test dose nor does it suppress the ECG signs caused by high doses of intravenous applied bupivacaine.