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Maternal and fetal effects of dexmedetomidine infusion in pregnant ewes anesthetized with sevoflurane

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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 6 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 7 Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To characterize the maternal and fetal cardiopulmonary effects of a low-dose infusion of dexmedetomidine without a loading dose in pregnant ewes anesthetized with sevoflurane.

ANIMALS 11 pregnant ewes.

PROCEDURES Anesthesia was induced with propofol and maintained with sevoflurane. Ewes and fetuses were instrumented with arterial and venous catheters, and thermodilution–pulmonary arterial catheters were placed in the ewes. Baseline measurements were obtained at an end-tidal sevoflurane concentration of 3.4%, then dexmedetomidine (2 μg/kg/h, IV) was infused for 90 minutes without a loading dose. Cardiovascular and blood gas variables were measured at predetermined time points.

RESULTS Dexmedetomidine infusion resulted in approximately 30% decreases in maternal systemic vascular resistance, blood pressure, and heart rate. Maternal cardiac index, oxygenation variables, and acid-base status remained unchanged, whereas pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, and stroke volume increased, compared with baseline values. Uterine blood flow decreased by approximately 30% to 36%. Fetal heart rate and blood pressure remained unchanged, but significant increases in fetal plasma glucose and lactate concentrations were detected.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Pregnant ewes receiving a combination of sevoflurane and an infusion of dexmedetomidine without a loading dose had cardiac index in acceptable ranges and maintained normoxia. This balanced anesthesia did not produce significant changes in fetal blood pressure or heart rate. However, the increase in fetal plasma lactate concentration and changes in maternal pulmonary vascular resistance and uterine blood flow require further investigation to better elucidate these effects.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Sayre's present address is North Houston Veterinary Specialists, 1646 Spring Cypress Rd #100, Spring, TX 77388.

Dr. Sawant's present address is Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 2022 E 105th St, Cleveland, OH 44106.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lepiz (mlepiz@cvm.tamu.edu).