Adverse Interaction Between Bupivacaine and Halothane on Ventricular Contractile Force and Intraventricular Conduction in the Dog

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Regional anesthesia with bupivacaine in pediatric patients is often accompanied by light levels of halothane general anesthesia. To determine the potential cardiotoxicity of these two drugs when used together, we defined the interaction between moderate plasma bupivacaine concentrations (1270--1760 ng/mL) and halothane (end-tidal concentrations, 0.5%-1.0%) on ventricular contractility and conduction in 22 closed-chest dogs anesthetized with chloralose. Bupivacaine alone (1-mg/kg intravenous bolus plus a 0.1-mg·kg−1·min−1 constant rate infusion) resulted in significant increases in ventricular conduction time (VCT) and effective refractory period (VERP) and nonsignificant decreases in dP/dtmax and blood pressure. The addition of halothane resulted in hypotension and in progressively increasing plasma bupivacaine levels secondary to reduced hepatic clearance, which led to further dose-related significant increases in VCT and VERP and to significant decreases in dP/dtmax and blood pressure. In other dogs given halothane but in which bupivacaine levels were held constant (1400 ng/mL), VCT remained constant and VERP lengthened slightly, whereas dP/dtmax decreased. We conclude that the combination of bupivacaine and halothane can cause adverse effects on ventricular contractility and intraventricular conduction.

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