The adverse hemodynamic effects of anesthesia, head-up tilt, and carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum during laparoscopic cholecystectomy

E A Hirvonen, E O Poikolainen, M E Pääkkönen, L S Nuutinen
Surgical Endoscopy 2000, 14 (3): 272-7

BACKGROUND: The increased intra-abdominal pressure during pneumoperitoneum, together with the head-up tilt used in upper abdominal laparoscopies, would be expected to decrease venous return to the heart. The goal of our study was to determine whether laparoscopy impairs cardiac performance when preventive measures to improve venous return are taken, and to analyze the effects of positioning, anesthesia, and increased intra-abdominal pressure.

METHODS: Using invasive monitoring, hemodynamic changes were investigated in 15 ASA class I or II patients under isoflurane-fentanyl anesthesia during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Before laparoscopy, the patients received an intravenous (IV) infusion of colloid solution if cardiac filling pressures were low, and their legs were wrapped from toes to groin with elastic bandages. Measurements were taken while the patients were awake in the supine (baseline) and head-up tilt (15-20 degrees) positions, and after the induction of anesthesia in the same positions. Measurements were repeated at regular intervals during laparoscopy (intra-abdominal pressure at 13-16 mm Hg), after deflation of the gas, and in the recovery room.

RESULTS: With the passive head-up tilt in awake and anesthetized patients, the cardiac index (CI), stroke index (SI), central venous pressure (CVP), and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) decreased, and systemic vascular resistance increased. With the patient under anesthesia, SI decreased, but CI did not change significantly as a result of the compensatory increase in heart rate. Carbon dioxide (CO2) insufflation at the start of laparoscopy produced increases in CVP and PCWP as well as mean systemic and mean pulmonary arterial pressures without changes in CI or SI. Toward the end of the laparoscopy, CI decreased by 15%. The hemodynamic values returned to nearly prelaparoscopic levels after deflation of the gas, and CI was elevated during the recovery period, whereas systemic vascular resistance was decreased in comparison with the baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: By correcting relative dehydration and preventing the pooling of blood, CI decreased less than 20% during pneumoperitoneum as compared with the baseline awake level. The head-up positioning accounts for many of the adverse effects in hemodynamics during laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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