Randomised double-blinded comparison of phenylephrine vs ephedrine for maintaining blood pressure during spinal anaesthesia for non-elective Caesarean section*.Anaesthesia. 2008 Dec; 63(12):1319-26.A
In a randomised, double-blinded study, we compared boluses of phenylephrine 100 microg with ephedrine 10 mg for treating hypotension (systolic blood pressure < 100 mmHg) in 204 patients having non-elective Caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia. Umbilical arterial (UA) and venous (UV) pH and base excess were similar between groups. In the ephedrine group, UA lactate concentration was higher (median 2.6 [interquartile range 2.3-3.3] vs 2.4 [1.9-3.0] mmolxl(-1), p = 0.002) and UV lactate concentration was higher (2.5 [2.2-3.2] vs 2.3 [1.9-2.8] mmolxl(-1), p = 0.016) and more patients had nausea or vomiting (12.7% vs 3.9%, p = 0.02). Clinical neonatal outcome was similar. Of the protocol-compliant patients (n = 148), UA Po(2) and UV Po(2) were lower in the phenylephrine group although oxygen content was similar. We conclude that phenylephrine and ephedrine are both suitable vasopressors for use in non-elective Caesarean sections.