Richard A. Jaffe

Publication Details

  • Pregnancy does not increase susceptibility to bupivacaine in spinal root axons ANESTHESIOLOGY Dietz, F. B., Jaffe, R. A. 1997; 87 (3): 610-616


    The underlying mechanism of enhanced antinociceptive effects and increased susceptibility to local anesthetics during pregnancy is not known. Mechanical, hormonal, biochemical, and neural changes have been suggested. The authors measured the susceptibility of individual spinal root axons to bupivacaine during late pregnancy in rats and compared them with similar measurements in nonpregnant rats.Lumbar dorsal and ventral roots were excised from anesthetized pregnant and nonpregnant rats. Single-fiber dissection and recording techniques were used to isolate activity in individual axons. Supramaximal constant voltage stimuli were delivered to the distal end of the root. During in vitro perfusion, each root was exposed to increasing concentrations of bupivacaine, and the minimum blocking concentration (Cm) and the concentration that increased conduction latency by 50% (EC50) were measured.Myelinated and unmyelinated dorsal and ventral root axons of pregnant rats appeared to be less sensitive to steady-state conduction block and to the latency-increasing effects of bupivacaine than were equivalent axons from nonpregnant rats. Although when comparing specific axon types, only the difference in C-fibers was significant (Cm = 29.8 microM for pregnant and Cm = 22.1 microM for nonpregnant rats, P < 0.05; EC50 = 19.9 microM and 13.6 microM, respectively).In contrast to clinical expectations, the susceptibility to bupivacaine conduction block in individual dorsal and ventral root axons during late pregnancy in rats was not greater in pregnant animals. Pregnancy-related changes in diffusion barriers and activation of endogenous analgesic systems without changes in the electrophysiologic properties of spinal root axons are suggested as possible explanations for the discrepancy between clinical and experimental observations.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997XW91400022

    View details for PubMedID 9316967

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