The effect of low-dose oxytocin infusion on cerebral hemodynamics in pregnant women

Am J Perinatol. 2011 Aug;28(7):579-84. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1275384. Epub 2011 Mar 18.


We investigated the cerebrovascular effects of continuous infusion of low-dose oxytocin in normal pregnant women undergoing induction of labor. In our prospective observational study, middle cerebral artery velocity was measured with transcranial Doppler ultrasound in 25 healthy, normotensive, nonsmoking patients undergoing induction of labor. No vasoactive drugs were used before or during the study period. Measurements were made at baseline and 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after oxytocin initiation. Mean arterial pressure, cerebral perfusion pressure, resistance index, resistance area product, and cerebral flow index at different times were calculated and compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures or Friedman repeated-measures ANOVA as appropriate, with P<0.05 regarded as significant. No significant systemic or cerebrovascular changes were noted after oxytocin initiation, and there was no correlation between the dosage administered and any hemodynamic parameter. Induction-dose oxytocin does not significantly affect selected cerebral hemodynamic parameters in the first 2 hours after initiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Hemodynamics / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Labor, Induced
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / physiology
  • Oxytocics / pharmacology*
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin