Background: Recent publications have questioned the validity of the “lipid sink” theory of lipid resuscitation while others have identified sink-independent effects and posed alternative mechanisms such as hemodilution. To address these issues, the authors tested the dose-dependent response to intravenous lipid emulsion during reversal of bupivacaine-induced cardiovascular toxicity in vivo. Subsequently, the authors modeled the relative contribution of volume resuscitation, drug sequestration, inotropy and combined drug sequestration, and inotropy to this response with the use of an in silico model.
Methods: Rats were surgically prepared to monitor cardiovascular metrics and deliver drugs. After catheterization and instrumentation, animals received a nonlethal dose of bupivacaine to produce transient cardiovascular toxicity, then were randomized to receive one of the four treatments: 30% intravenous lipid emulsion, 20% intravenous lipid emulsion, intravenous saline, or no treatment (n = 7 per condition; 28 total animals). Recovery responses were compared with the predictions of a pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic model parameterized using previously published laboratory data.
Results: Rats treated with lipid emulsions recovered faster than did rats treated with saline or no treatment. Intravenous lipid emulsion of 30% elicited the fastest hemodynamic recovery followed in order by 20% intravenous lipid emulsion, saline, and no treatment. An increase in arterial blood pressure underlay the recovery in both lipid emulsion–treated groups. Heart rates remained depressed in all four groups throughout the observation period. Model predictions mirrored the experimental recovery, and the model that combined volume, sequestration, and inotropy predicted in vivo results most accurately.
Conclusion: Intravenous lipid emulsion accelerates cardiovascular recovery from bupivacaine toxicity in a dose-dependent manner, which is driven by a cardiotonic response that complements the previously reported sequestration effect.