The effect of chronic subarachnoid bupivacaine infusion in dogs

J. S. Kroin, R. J. McCarthy, R. D. Penn, J. M. Kerns, A. D. Ivankovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A functional and histologic examination of the effect of the continuous intrathecal administration of bupivacaine was made in five dogs. After a partial laminectomy at L5, a silicone rubber catheter was inserted into the subarachnoid space and advanced 10 cm cranially. A model 400 Infusaid pump, used for drug delivery, was placed in a subcutaneous pocket between the 13th rib and iliac crest. Drug infusions were individually adjusted and maintained at a concentration such that the animal just exhibited slight gait impairment. Daily bupivacaine doses ranged from 5.7-11.1 mg. Infusions were maintained for a period of 3-16 weeks. Light microscopic examination of spinal cord and roots revealed no abnormalities. A focal mononuclear cell infiltration of the leptomeninges was seen in two drug animals, as well as one cathether control animal. One of the 16-week animals had a residual limp upon drug removal. While we were not able to quantitatively assess the degree of sensory motor dissociation, the results of this study suggest that chronic intrathecal bupivacaine infusion through an implantable pump system may be a short-term alternative to intrathecal morphine in the control of cancer pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-742
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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