The Effects of Age on Neural Blockade and Hemodynamic Changes After Epidural Anesthesia with Ropivacaine


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Abstract

We studied the influence of age on the neural blockade and hemodynamic changes after the epidural administration of ropivacaine 1.0% in patients undergoing orthopedic, urological, gynecological, or lower abdominal surgery. Fifty-four patients were enrolled in one of three age groups (Group 1: 18–40 yr; Group 2: 41–60 yr; Group 3: ≥61 yr). After a test dose of 3 mL of prilocaine 1.0% with epinephrine 5 μg/mL, 15 mL of ropivacaine 1.0% was administered epidurally. The level of analgesia and degree of motor blockade were assessed, and hemodynamic variables were recorded at standardized intervals. The upper level of analgesia differed among all groups (medians: Group 1: T8; Group 2: T6; Group 3: T4). Motor blockade was more intense in the oldest compared with the youngest age group. The incidence of bradycardia and hypotension and the maximal decrease in mean arterial blood pressure during the first hour after the epidural injection (median of Group 1: 11 mm Hg; Group 2: 16 mm Hg; Group 3: 29 mm Hg) were more frequent in the oldest age group. We conclude that age influences the clinical profile of ropivacaine 1.0%. The hemodynamic effects in older patients may be caused by the high thoracic spread of analgesia, although a diminished hemodynamic homeostasis may contribute.

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