Intrathecally administered sufentanil is frequently associated with hypotension and sensory changes in women undergoing labor. In this study, the authors examined whether intrathecally administered sufentanil has similar effects in pain-free individuals with low concentrations of progesterone (i.e., male volunteers).Ten male volunteers were randomly assigned to receive an intrathecal injection of either 10 microg sufentanil or saline in a double-blind fashion. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxyhemoglobin saturation, and temperatures from the body core and skin of the calf and ipsilateral great toe were recorded. Cold and pin prick sensation, motor block, and visual analogue scores for sedation, pruritus, and nausea also were assessed. Current perception thresholds using the Neurometer current perception threshold instrument (Neurotron, Inc., Baltimore, MD) were determined for three frequencies (2,000, 250, and 5 Hz, corresponding to stimulation of Abeta, Adelta, and C fibers, respectively) on the upper and lower extremities.Pruritus and sensory changes to pin prick and cold occurred in the sufentanil group but not the saline group. Neither group had a significant change in blood pressure, heart rate, oxyhemoglobin saturation, sedation, or core temperature. There was a clinically insignificant difference in the calf minus toe temperature index between the saline and sufentanil groups. There was a small increase in the current perception thresholds at 250 Hz in the sufentanil group.Intrathecally administered sufentanil did not affect blood pressure in male volunteers. The other effects of sufentanil, however, were similar to those observed in women undergoing labor. This suggests that the hypotension occurring in these women after intrathecally administered sufentanil is secondary to relief of pain, rather than to a sympathectomy.
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View details for PubMedID 9667296