Cardiovascular Alterations in the Parturient Undergoing Cesarean Delivery With Neuraxial Anesthesia

Katherine W Arendt; Jochen D Muehlschlegel; Lawrence C Tsen


Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2012;7(1):59-75. 

In This Article

Neuraxial Anesthesia Onset: Combined Spinal Epidural

An alternative to a single-shot spinal or an epidural technique is a combined spinal epidural (CSE) technique. A CSE technique allows the anesthesiologist to place an initial lower dose of local anesthetic in the intrathecal space, because if the intrathecal block is inadequate, then an epidural catheter would be present to dose. Although one study found no difference in CO or the incidence of hypotension regardless of whether 5 or 10 mg intrathecal bupivacaine was administered during a CSE,[54] as discussed earlier, multiple other studies have shown that decreasing doses of intrathecal local anesthetic decreases rates and degrees of spinal hypotension.[86]

A low-dose CSE technique has been described in four high-risk cardiac patients, in which an intrathecal dose of 4–5 mg of heavy bupivacaine, along with 20–25 mcg fentanyl was administered. This was subsequently followed by the slow loading of epidural local anesthetic to achieve a T4 surgical level.[100] The purported benefits of the low-dose CSE technique include a slower-onset of the neuraxial block, which may allow the anesthesiologist to maintain preload and afterload during the onset, while still achieving the greater block reliability of intrathecal local anesthetic administration. Further investigation is needed to determine the hemodynamic benefit of such techniques.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.