The effect of an intravenous (iv) injection of lidocaine with epinephrine was studied to determine if such a test dose would cause a reliably detectable increase in heart rate and systemic blood pressure in children anesthetized with halothane and nitrous oxide. The effect of the injection of atropine before the test dose on these parameters was also determined. Sixty-five children I month to 11 yr of age and weighing 3.9-35 kg were studied. The children were assigned to one of four groups, each of which was anesthetized with 1% halothane and 50% nitrous oxide. Group 1 (n = 20) received 10 [mu]g/kg atropine followed 5 min later by an iv dose of 0.1 ml/kg 1% lidocaine with 1/200,000 epinephrine (0.5 [mu]g/kg) to simulate an intravascularly administered epidural test dose. Group 2 (n = 21) was identical to group 1 but did not receive atropine prior to the simulated intravascular test dose. Groups 3 (n = 12) and 4 (n = 11) were identical to groups 1 and 2, but the simulated intravascular test dose did not contain epinephrine: group 3 received atropine prior to the test dose and group 4 did not. The simulated intravascular test dose increased heart rate in group 1 (with atropine) at each time period from 15 to 120 s, but only at 45 and 60 s in group 2 (without atropine). Following the iv test dose, 6 of 21 children in group 2 had an increase in heart rate of less than 10 beats/min, while only one child in group 1 had an increase in heart rate of less than 10 beats/min. Intravenous test doses that did not contain epinephrine (groups 3 and 4) had no effect on heart rate or blood pressure. Atropine, 10 [mu]g/kg, improves the reliability of an epidural test does in children anesthetized with halothane an nitrous oxide but does not ensure total reliability in detecting an intravascular injection
(C) 1990 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.