RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Arterial and venous pharmacokinetics of ropivacaine with and without epinephrine after thoracic paravertebral block.

Anesthesiology 2005 October
BACKGROUND: Animal and volunteer studies indicate that ropivacaine is associated with less neurologic and cardiac toxicity than bupivacaine. Ropivacaine may offer advantages when used for thoracic paravertebral block. This study was designed to describe the pharmacokinetics of ropivacaine after thoracic paravertebral block.

METHODS: Twenty female patients undergoing elective unilateral breast surgery were randomly assigned to receive a single bolus thoracic paravertebral injection of 2 mg/kg ropivacaine, with or without 5 mug/ml epinephrine. Simultaneous arterial and venous blood samples were obtained for plasma ropivacaine assay. Data were analyzed with NONMEM, using two possible absorption models: conventional first-order absorption and absorption following the inverse gaussian density function.

RESULTS: Epinephrine reduced the peak plasma concentrations and delayed the time of peak concentration of ropivacaine in both the arterial and venous blood. The time course of drug input into the systemic circulation was best described by two inverse gaussian density functions. The median bioavailability of the rapid component was approximately 20% higher when epinephrine was not used. The mean absorption times were 7.8 min for the rapid absorption phase and 697 min for the slow absorption phase, with wide dispersion of the absorption function for the acute phase. The half-time of arterial-venous equilibration was 1.5 min.

CONCLUSION: The absorption of ropivacaine after thoracic paravertebral block is described by rapid and slow absorption phases. The rapid phase approximates the speed of intravenous administration and accounts for nearly half of ropivacaine absorption. The addition of 5 mug/ml epinephrine to ropivacaine significantly delays its systemic absorption and reduces the peak plasma concentration.

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