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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of high thoracic epidural anesthesia and local anesthetics on bronchial hyperreactivity.

Bronchial hyperreactivity can cause life threatening bronchospasm after airway irritation. Therefore, endotracheal intubation is avoided in asthmatics when feasible. High thoracic epidural anesthesia can be used to avoid endotracheal intubation and offers less postoperative pulmonary complications when compared to systemic postoperative analgesia. However, there are concerns that it might also cause impaired ventilation by extended motor blockade, increased airway resistance, and increased bronchial reactivity because of pulmonary sympathicolysis. Nevertheless, high thoracic epidural anesthesia causes only a slight decrease in vital capacity and neither an increase in airway resistance nor increased bronchial reactivity. In fact, it causes a decrease in bronchial reactivity in patients with bronchial hyperreactivity mostly due to the systemic effect of the local anesthetic. The attenuation of bronchial hyperreactivity can be shown as a dose dependent effect of lidocaine and bupivacaine. The intravenous effect of lidocaine is comparable to the effect of a moderate dose of salbutamol and leads to an additive effect when both drugs are used in combination. Overall, high thoracic epidural anesthesia can be used safely in patients with bronchial hyperreactivity and intravenous administration of lidocaine (1.5-2.0 mg x kg(-1)) can be used as a prophylactic treatment prior to airway instrumentation.[1]


  1. Effects of high thoracic epidural anesthesia and local anesthetics on bronchial hyperreactivity. Groeben, H. Journal of clinical monitoring and computing. (2000) [Pubmed]
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