Prophylactic phenylephrine infusion for preventing hypotension during spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery

Warwick D Ngan Kee, Kim S Khaw, Floria F Ng, Bee B Lee
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2004, 98 (3): 815-21, table of contents

UNLABELLED: In a randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial, we investigated the prophylactic infusion of IV phenylephrine for the prevention of hypotension during spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery. Immediately after intrathecal injection, phenylephrine was infused at 100 microg/min (n = 26) for 3 min. From that point until delivery, phenylephrine was infused at 100 microg/min whenever systolic arterial blood pressure (SAP), measured each minute, was less than baseline. A control group (n = 24) received IV bolus phenylephrine 100 microg after each measurement of SAP <80% of baseline. Phenylephrine infusion decreased the incidence (6 [23%] of 26 versus 21 [88%] of 24; P < 0.0001), frequency, and magnitude (median minimum SAP, 106 mm Hg; interquartile range, 95-111 mm Hg; versus median, 80 mm Hg; range, 73-93 mm Hg; P < 0.0001) of hypotension compared with control. Heart rate was significantly slower over time in the infusion group compared with the control group (P < 0.0001). Despite a large total dose of phenylephrine administered to the infusion group compared with the control group (median, 1260 microg; interquartile range, 1010-1640 microg; versus median, 450 microg; interquartile range, 300-750 microg; P < 0.0001), umbilical cord blood gases and Apgar scores were similar. One patient in each group had umbilical arterial pH <7.2. Prophylactic phenylephrine infusion is a simple, safe, and effective method of maintaining arterial blood pressure during spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery.

IMPLICATIONS: In patients receiving spinal anesthesia for elective cesarean delivery, a prophylactic infusion of phenylephrine 100 microg/min decreased the incidence, frequency, and magnitude of hypotension with equivalent neonatal outcome compared with a control group receiving IV bolus phenylephrine.

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