Back to Journals » Journal of Pain Research » Volume 11

Effect of bupivacaine and adjuvant drugs for regional anesthesia on nerve tissue oximetry and nerve blood flow

Authors Wiesmann T, Müller S, Müller HH, Wulf H, Steinfeldt T

Received 21 September 2017

Accepted for publication 1 November 2017

Published 23 January 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 227—235


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Thomas Wiesmann,1 Stefan Müller,1,2 Hans-Helge Müller,3 Hinnerk Wulf,1 Thorsten Steinfeldt1,4

1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital Marburg, Philipps University, Marburg, 2Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Giessen, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, 3Institute of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology, Philipps University, Marburg, 4Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Diakoniekrankenhaus Schwäbisch Hall, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

Background: Nerve blood flow has a critical role in acute and chronic pathologies in peripheral nerves. Influences of local anesthetics and adjuvants on tissue perfusion and oxygenation are deemed as relevant factors for nerve damage after peripheral regional anesthesia. The link between low tissue perfusion due to local anesthetics and resulting tissue oxygenation is unclear.
Methods: Combined tissue spectrophotometry and laser-Doppler flowmetry were used to assess nerve blood flow in 40 surgically exposed median nerves in pigs, as well as nerve tissue oximetry for 60 min. After baseline measurements, test solutions saline (S), bupivacaine (Bupi), bupivacaine with epinephrine (BupiEpi), and bupivacaine with clonidine (BupiCloni) were applied topically.
Results: Bupivacaine resulted in significant decrease in nerve blood flow, as well as tissue oximetry values, compared with saline control. Addition of epinephrine resulted in a rapid, but nonsignificant, reduction of nerve blood flow and extensive lowering of tissue oximetry levels. The use of clonidine resulted in a reduction of nerve blood flow, comparable to bupivacaine alone (relative blood flow at T60 min compared with baseline, S: 0.86 (0.67–1.18), median (25th–75th percentile); Bupi: 0.33 (0.25–0.60); BupiCloni: 0.43 (0.38–0.63); and BupiEpi: 0.41(0.30–0.54). The use of adjuvants did not result in any relevant impairment of tissue oximetry values (saturation values in percent at T60, S: 91.5 [84–95]; Bupi: 76 [61–86]; BupiCloni: 84.5 [76–91]; and BupiEpi: 91 [56–92]).
Conclusion: The application of bupivacaine results in lower nerve blood flow, but does not induce relevant ischemia. Despite significant reductions in nerve blood flow, the addition of clonidine or epinephrine to bupivacaine had no significant impact on nerve tissue oximetry compared with bupivacaine alone. Nerve ischemia due to local anesthetics is not enhanced by the adjuvants clonidine or epinephrine.

Keywords: peripheral regional anesthesia, complications, nerve blood flow, local anesthetics, adjuvants

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]