Phenylephrine as a simulated intravascular epidural test dose in pediatrics: A pilot study

Carlo Pancaro, Viviane G. Nasr, Jessica K. Paulus, Iwona Bonney, Alejandro F. Flores, Jonas B. Galper, Iqbal Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background A test dose is used to detect intravascular injection during neuraxial block in pediatrics. Accidental intravascular epidural local anesthetic injection might be unrecognized in anesthetized children leading to potential life-threatening complications. In children, sevoflurane anesthesia blunts the hemodynamic response when intravascular cathecolamines are administered. No studies have explored the hemodynamics and the criteria for a positive test dose result following phenylephrine in sevoflurane anesthetized children. Methods Healthy children undergoing minor procedures were randomly assigned to receive intravenous placebo, or 5 μgâ̂™kg -1 phenylephrine (n = 11/group) during sevoflurane anesthesia. Hemodynamic response was assessed using electrocardiography, pulse oxymetry and non-invasive blood pressure monitoring for 5 min following drug administration in anesthetized patients. Results All patients receiving phenylephrine showed a decreased heart rate (HR) but not all of them met the positive criterion for test dose response. Overall, at 1 min, patients receiving phenylephrine showed a 25% decrease in HR from the baseline while an increase in blood pressure was noticed in 54% of patients receiving phenylephrine. Discussion Phenylephrine might be a future indicator of positive intravascular test dose. Further investigation is needed to find out the phenylephrine dose that elicits a reliable hemodynamic response and whether phenylephrine needs to be dose age-adjusted in order to appreciate relevant hemodynamic changes in children receiving neuraxial blocks undergoing general anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-509
Number of pages8
JournalPaediatric anaesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • analgesia
  • anesthesia
  • epidural
  • local anesthetic toxicity
  • pediatric test dose
  • phenylephrine
  • sevoflurane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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