Fluid and vasopressor management for Cesarean delivery under spinal anesthesia: continuing professional development.Can J Anaesth 2012; 59(6):604-19CJ
The purpose of this Continuing Professional Development module is to review the physiology of maternal hypotension induced by spinal anesthesia in pregnant women, and the effects of fluids and vasopressors.
Maternal hypotension induced by spinal anesthesia is caused mainly by peripheral vasodilatation and is not usually associated with a decrease in cardiac output. Although the intravenous administration of fluids helps to increase cardiac output, it does not always prevent maternal hypotension. Three strategies of fluid administrations are equivalent for the prevention of maternal hypotension and a reduced need for vasopressors: (1) colloid preload; (2) colloid coload; and (3) crystalloid coload. Crystalloid preload is not as effective as any of those three strategies. Unlike phenylephrine, ephedrine can cause fetal acidosis. Therefore, phenylephrine is recommended as first line treatment of maternal hypotension. A phenylephrine infusion (25-50 μg x min(-1)) appears to be more effective than phenylephrine boluses to prevent hypotension, and nausea and vomiting. In pre-eclamptic patients, spinal anesthesia produces less hypotension than in normal pregnant women and fluid volumes up to 1,000 mL are usually well tolerated. Therefore mild to moderate intravascular volume loading is recommended, keeping in mind the increased risk for pulmonary edema in this population. In pre-eclamptic patients, hypotension can be treated either with ephedrine or phenylephrine, and phenylephrine infusions are not recommended.
A volume loading regimen other than crystalloid preload should be adopted. A phenylephrine infusion during elective Cesarean delivery is beneficial for the mother and safe for the newborn.