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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.80 n.1 Pretoria  2009




Cardiovascular effects of lumbar epidural anaesthesia in isoflurane-anaesthetised pigs during surgical removal of the liver



G F Stegmann

Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa. E-mail:




In humans the combined administration of epidural anaesthesia and inhalation anaesthesia may result in cardiovascular instability associated with decreases in heart rate and blood pressure. Anaesthesia was induced with a combination of midazolam/ketamine in 18 female pigs with a mean body weight of 24.9 ± 5.9 kg scheduled for surgical removal of the liver. After tracheal intubation, anaesthesia was maintained on a circle rebreathing circuit with isoflurane. Epidural anaesthesia was administered with ropivacaine (AL-group, n = 8) at 0.2 ml/kg of a 7.5 mg/ml. solution to the anaesthetised animals. The A-group (n = 10) received isoflurane anaesthesia only. The vaporiser was set at 2.5 % for the A-group and 1.5 % for the AL-group. Heart rate, invasive systolic, diastolic , and mean arterial blood pressure were monitored. Comparisons were made between treatments and within treatments comparing variables during surgical preparation and abdominal surgery. Differences between treatments were not statistically significant (P > 0.05) during surgical preparation or during abdominal surgery. For within treatment groups, the differences between surgical preparation and abdominal surgery were statistically significant (P < 0.05) for heart rate in the A-group, but not statistically significant (P > 0.05) for the other variables. It is concluded that abdominal surgery maybe associated with statistically significant changes in heart rate in isoflurane-anaesthetised pigs and that the combined administration of epidural ropivacaine may prevent statistically significant changes in HR during abdominal surgery.

Key words: anaesthesia, cardiovascular, epidural anaesthesia, isoflurane, pigs, ropivacaine



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Received: October 2007
Accepted: February 2009

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