Document Detail

The clinical character of local anesthetics: a function of frequency-dependent conduction block.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  310233     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
It is clinically recognized fact that some local anesthetics have a proclivity for inhibition of motor nerves, while others preferentially affect sensory and sympathetic fibers. On the basis that sensory fibers have a frequency threshold for transmission of nociceptive stimuli and that somatic motor fibers have no such frequency threshold, we hypothesized that this variation may be due to differences in the effect of local anesthetics on axonal refractory period. Frog sciatic nerves were partially blocked with lidocaine, bupivacaine, tetracaine and etidocaine, and then stimulated in trains of 17 pulses, at frequencies between 3 and 100 Hz. The height and area of the last action potential in a train were measured. At a comparable level of partial block (50% at 100 Hz), tetracaine and etidocaine showed only a 10% difference between 3 and 100 Hz, while with bupivacaine and lidocaine there was a 30% drop between these two frequencies. This excellent correlation between the laboratory and clinical phenomenon supports our hypothesis. Local anesthetics which have a minimal effect on the refractory period yield enhanced motor block; whereas local anesthetics with a large effect on the refractory period are relatively more potent blockers of sensory and sympathetic transmission.
J E Scurlock; E Meymaris; J Gregus
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Acta anaesthesiologica Scandinavica     Volume:  22     ISSN:  0001-5172     ISO Abbreviation:  Acta Anaesthesiol Scand     Publication Date:  1978  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1979-02-23     Completed Date:  1979-02-23     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370270     Medline TA:  Acta Anaesthesiol Scand     Country:  DENMARK    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  601-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Action Potentials / drug effects
Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology*
Axons / drug effects
Bupivacaine / pharmacology
Electric Stimulation
Etidocaine / pharmacology
Lidocaine / pharmacology
Nerve Block*
Neural Conduction / drug effects*
Rana pipiens
Refractory Period, Electrophysiological / drug effects*
Sciatic Nerve / drug effects
Tetracaine / pharmacology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Anesthetics, Local; 137-58-6/Lidocaine; 2180-92-9/Bupivacaine; 36637-18-0/Etidocaine; 94-24-6/Tetracaine

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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