Effects of nicardipine and labetalol on the acute hemodynamic response to electroconvulsive therapy

Michail N. Avramov, Louis A. Stool, Paul F. White, Mustafa M. Husain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To examine the acute hemodynamic effects of intravenous (IV) nicardipine and its ability to attenuate the hyperdynamic response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), when used alone or in combination with labetalol. Design: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, positive-control, clinical investigation. Setting: University hospital. Patients: 36 patients undergoing ECT. Interventions: In a series of three studies, the hemodynamic effects of nicardipine were assessed prior to, during, and after ECT. After administration of glycopyrrolate 0.1 mg IV, placebo (saline) or nicardipine was administered by rapid infusion (1, 2.5, 5, 10, and 15 mg) or bolus injection (1.25, 2.5, and 5 mg), either alone or in combination with labetalol 10 mg IV. Unconsciousness was induced with methohexital 1 mg/kg IV; succinylcholine 1.2 to 1.5 mg/kg IV was administered for muscle relaxation. A bilateral electrical stimulus was delivered and the durations of motor and electroencephalographic (EEG) seizures were noted. Measurements and Main Results: Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) values were recorded at 1- to 5-minute intervals throughout the study period. When administered as a rapid infusion, nicardipine 5 mg IV produced a significant decrease in MAP; however, nicardipine dosages of 10 to 15 mg IV did not produce a significantly greater decrease in MAP than 5 mg. Bolus administration of nicardipine 1.25 to 5 mg produced a rapid onset of its hemodynamic effects without exacerbating the cardiovascular depressant effects of methohexital. However, the decrease in MAP was accompanied by an increase in HR after administration of the 5 mg IV bolus dose. The acute hyperdynamic response to ECT was most effectively controlled by nicardipine 2.5 to 5 mg IV bolus, in combination with labetalol 10 mg IV. Seizure duration was not significantly altered by the use of nicardipine as part of the anesthetic regimen for ECT. Conclusion: Nicardipine 2.5 mg IV bolus in combination with labetalol 10 mg IV was the most effective pretreatment regimen for preventing the acute hyperdynamic response to ECT. However, this combination produced a 20% decrease in MAP immediately prior to ECT and a lower MAP at the time of discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-400
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Calcium antagonist
  • Calcium-channel blockers
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Hypertension
  • Labetalol
  • Nicardipine
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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