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The effect of infusions of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine on cerebral autoregulation under isoflurane anaesthesia in an ovine model

Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia


The effects of infusions of adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine on cerebral autoregulation under steady-state isoflurane anaesthesia were compared with the awake state. Six studies each were conducted in two cohorts of adult ewes: awake sheep and those anaesthetized with 2% isoflurane anaesthesia. In random order, each animal received ramped infusions of adrenaline, noradrenaline (0-40 µg/min) and dopamine (0-40 µg/kg/min). Cerebral blood flow was measured continuously from changes in Doppler velocities in the sagittal sinus. Autoregulation was determined by linear regression analysis between cerebral blood flow and mean arterial pressure.

Isoflurane did not significantly alter cerebral blood flow relative to pre-anaesthesia values (P>0.05). All three catecholamines significantly and equivalently increased MAP from baseline in a dose dependent manner in both the awake and isoflurane cohorts. Although adrenaline significantly increased cerebral blood flow from baseline in the awake cohort (P<0.01), none of the catecholamines significantly increased cerebral blood flow during isoflurane anaesthesia. No significant differences were demonstrated between the slopes and intercepts of regression lines for adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine within either cohort (ANCOVA). Inter-cohort comparisons between the two autoregulation curves demonstrated no significant difference between the slopes of the autoregulation curves for the awake (pooled slope=0.39) and isoflurane cohorts (pooled slope=0.28) (P>0.05).

Over a specific dose range, systemic hypertension induced by adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine did not significantly increase cerebral blood flow under 2% isoflurane anaesthesia. The concomitant administration of isoflurane and the catecholamines was not associated with altered autoregulatory function compared to the awake state.

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