Hypotension following spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery can produce adverse maternal symptoms and neonatal acid-base effects. Single-agent prophylaxis, most notably with ephedrine, does not reliably prevent spinal anesthesia-induced hypotension; recently, however, the prophylactic use of phenylephrine with ephedrine as an infusion was observed to be effective. We postulated that this combination, when given as an intravenous bolus for prophylaxis and rescue treatment, could be similarly effective.
Forty-three term parturients were randomized to receive a bolus of ephedrine 10 mg +/- phenylephrine 40 microg (groups E and EP, respectively) simultaneously with spinal anesthesia. Hypotension was defined as a systolic blood pressure below 100 mmHg or a decrease of 20% from a baseline value. Rescue boluses comprised of ephedrine 5 mg +/- phenylephrine 20 microg.
For groups E and EP, respectively, the incidence of hypotension was 80% vs. 95% (P=0.339), with the mean number of rescue boluses being 3.85+/-3.7 and 3.05+/-1.7 and the mean umbilical artery pH being 7.246+/-0.081 vs. 7.244+/-0.106. All comparisons were not significant (NS).
The combination of ephedrine and phenylephrine given as an intravenous bolus at the doses selected is not superior to ephedrine alone in preventing or treating hypotension in healthy parturients undergoing cesarean delivery.