Plasma concentrations of epidural bupivacaine in mother and newborn: 0.125% versus 0.375%

A. van Zundert, A. Burm, J. van Kleef, J. Spierdijk, P. Van der Aa, F. Smolders, L. Vaes, A. De Wolf

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2 Scopus citations


Central venous plasma concentrations of bupivacaine were determined in two groups of 15 parturients each who were given epidural analgesia for labor and vaginal delivery. One group received 10 ml of 0.125% bupivacaine plus epinephrine 1:800,000, the other group received 7 ml of 0.375% bupivacaine plus epinephrine 1:800,000. Plasma concentrations of bupivacaine in the umbilical venous (UV) and the umbilical arterial (UA) blood of their babies were also determined. The mean UA, UV, and maternal central venous (MV) plasma concentrations of bupivacaine differed significantly between the two groups: in patients given 0.375% bupivacaine UA values were 63% higher (P < 0.01), UV values were 57% higher (P < 0.01), and the MV values were 34% higher (P < 0.05) than in patients given 0.125% bupivacaine. The measured plasma concentrations speak in favor of the less concentrated solution of bupivacaine in epidural analgesia for obstetrics. Seven milliliters of bupivacaine 0.375% is suitable for epidural analgesia in obstetrics but a low concentration-low dose technique, using 10 ml of bupivacaine 0.125% plus epinephrine 1:800,000 is safer. It provides good analgesia with minimal or no motor block and is associated with low maternal and neonatal plasma concentrations of bupivacaine, well below toxic levels and, to our knowledge, lower than in any other study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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