To test the effectiveness of adrenergic agonists in correcting the vascular sequelae of spinal anesthesia, we used venous reservoir volume (RV) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) as indices of the changes in venous capacitance and arterial resistance produced by adrenergic agonists in dogs anesthetized with pentobarbital and undergoing cardiopulmo-nary bypass (CPB). A CPB-based technique was chosen both to prevent drug and reflex effects on the heart from influencing the results and to provide a convenient means by which to monitor venous capacitance. Total spinal anesthesia significantly decreased both RV and MAP relative to steady-state CPB values. Return of these hemodynamic alterations to baseline was attempted using pure [alpha]-and [beta]-adrenergic agonists, and a mixed adrenergic agonist (phenyl-ephrine, isoproterenol, and ephedrine, respectively). Isoproterenol increased RV, but further decreased MAP. Phenyl-ephrine increased MAP but not RV. Ephedrine increased both MAP and RV. We conclude that a mixed adrenergic agonist such as ephedrine more ideally corrects the noncardiac circulatory sequelae of spinal anesthesia than does either a pure [alpha]-or [beta]-adrenergic agonist.
(C) 1986 International Anesthesia Research Society