Intrathecal bupivacaine in humans: influence of volume and baricity of solutions

Anesthesiology. 1999 Nov;91(5):1260-6. doi: 10.1097/00000542-199911000-00016.


Background: The effects of volume and baricity of spinal bupivacaine on block onset, height, duration, and hemodynamics were studied.

Methods: Ninety patients undergoing endoscopic urologic procedures were randomized to receive 10 mg of intrathecal bupivacaine at L2-L3 level in sitting position. In the operating room, commercial products were diluted as needed with NaCl 0.9% to obtain isobaric solutions (density, 1.005-1.008) or with NaC 10.9% and glucose 30% to obtain hyperbaric solutions (density, 1.031-1.037) of 2, 5, or 10 ml (six groups of 15 patients each). Three minutes after spinal injection the patients were placed in lithotomy position. Sensory blockade was assessed using pinprick and cold sensation tests, and motor blockade was assessed using a four-point scale.

Results: Onset times to maximal cephalad spread of spinal blockade were similar with isobaric and hyperbaric solutions. A greater maximal cephalad spread of anesthesia was obtained with diluted isobaric bupivacaine but was not associated with more hypotension. Volume had no effect on cephalad extent of anesthesia with hyperbaric bupivacaine. Times for regression of anesthesia to L2 and offset of motor block were longer with isobaric than with hyperbaric solutions of bupivacaine. The intensity of motor blockade was decreased with diluted hyperbaric bupivacaine. No patient reported back pain.

Conclusion: In this study, volume had no significant influence on either cephalad spread or duration of sensory blockade for either isobaric or hyperbaric bupivacaine. Time for offset of anesthesia was shorter with hyperbaric bupivacaine compared with isobaric solutions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, Spinal*
  • Anesthetics, Local* / administration & dosage
  • Bupivacaine* / administration & dosage
  • Cystoscopy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pressure
  • Solutions
  • Time Factors


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Solutions
  • Bupivacaine