Densities of Dextrose-Free Intrathecal Local Anesthetics, Opioids, and Combinations Measured at 37 degrees C

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Dextrose-free anesthetic medications are commonly used to provide subarachnoid anesthesia and analgesia. Hypobaricity has been proposed as a mechanism to explain postural effects on the extent of sensory block produced by these drugs. Densities of dextrose-free solutions of local anesthetics and opioids, and commonly used anesthetic/opioid mixtures were determined at 37.00 degrees C for comparison with the density of human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Measurements accurate to 0.00001 g/mL were performed using a mechanical oscillation resonance frequency density meter. All undiluted solutions tested are hypobaric relative to human lumbar CSF with the exception of lidocaine 1.5% and 2.0% with epinephrine 1:200,000. All mixtures of local anesthetics and opioids tested are hypobaric. We observed good agreement between measured densities and calculated weighted average densities of anesthetic mixtures. While the influence of baricity on the clinical effects of dextrose-free intrathecal anesthetics remains controversial, attempts to attribute postural effects to the baricity of these drugs requires establishment of accurate density values. These density data may facilitate elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the behavior of dextrose-free intrathecal anesthetics.(Anesth Analg 1997;84:95-9)

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