Plasma concentrations of ropivacaine given with or without epinephrine for brachial plexus block

Rosemary Hickey, Janna Blanchard, Joan Hoffman, Jan Sjovall, Somayaji Ramamurthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the pharmacokinetic properties of the local anaesthetic ropivacaine used with or without epinephrine for brachial plexus block. Seventeen ASA physical status I or II adult patients undergoing elective orthopaedic surgery received a single injection of 33 ml ropivacaine for subclavian perivascular block and 5 ml to block the intercostobrachial nerve in the axilla. One group (n =8) received 0.5 per cent ropivacaine without epinephrine (190 mg) and the other (n =9) received 0.5 per cent ropivacaine with epinephrine 1:200,000 (190 mg). Plasma ropivacaine concentrations were measured from peripheral venous blood samples taken for 12 hr after drug administration. Ropivacaine base was determined in plasma using gas chromatography and a nitrogen-sensitive detector. The mean peak plasma concentration (C max) was 1.6 ± 0.6 mg· L-1 and 1.3 ± 0.4 mg· L-1 after administration of ropivacaine with and without epinephrine. The median time to peak plasma concentration (tmax) was 0.75 hr and 0.88 hr and the mean area under the plasma concentration curve AUC0-12h was 7.7 ± 3.6 and 7.0 ± 3.4 mg · 1 hr-1. The differences were not statistically significant. The terminal phase of the individual plasma concentrationtime curves showed a varying and sometimes slow decline possibly indicating a sustained systemic uptake of ropivacaine from the brachial plexus. No central nervous system or cardiovascular symptoms attributed to systemic plasma concentrations of the drug were observed, with the dose (1.90-3.28 mg · kg-1) of ropivacaine used. It is concluded that the addition of epinephrine does not alter the pharmacokinetic properties of ropivacaine when used for subclavian perivascular brachial plexus block.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-882
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1990


  • Anaesthetic Techniques: regional, brachial plexus
  • Anaesthetics, Local: ropivacaine
  • Pharmacokinetics: ropivacaine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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