Study objective: To evaluate the frequency of hypotension and bradycardia during integrated epidural-general anesthesia as compared with general anesthesia or epidural anesthesia alone.
Design: Prospective, randomized, open, multicenter study.
Setting: Inpatient anesthesia at 7 University or Hospital Departments of anesthesia.
Patients: 210 ASA physical status I, II, and III patients undergoing elective total hip replacement.
Interventions: Using a balanced randomization method, each hospital enrolled 30 consecutive patients who received integrated epidural-general anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, or general anesthesia.
Measurements and main results: Occurrence of clinically relevant hypotension (systolic arterial blood pressure (BP) decrease >30% from baseline), or bradycardia (heart rate (HR) <45 bpm) requiring pharmacologic treatment were recorded, as well as routine cardiovascular parameters. Clinically relevant hypotension during induction of nerve block was reported in 13 patients receiving epidural block (18%) and 16 patients receiving epidural-general anesthesia (22%) (p = 0.67). Subsequently, 22 of the remaining 54 patients in the epidural-general anesthesia group (41%) developed hypotension after the induction of general anesthesia, as compared with 16 patients of the general anesthesia group (23%) (p = 0.049). No differences in HR or in frequency of bradycardia were observed in the three groups.
Conclusions: The induction of general anesthesia in patients with an epidural block up to T10 increased the odds of developing clinically relevant hypotension as compared with those patients who received no epidural block, and was associated with a twofold increase of the odds of hypotension as compared with the use of epidural anesthesia alone.