The disposition of propofol was studied in women undergoing elective Caesarean section. Indices of maternal recovery and neonatal assessment were correlated with venous concentrations of propofol. After induction of anaesthesia with propofol 2.0 mg kg-1, ten patients received propofol 6 mg kg-1 hr-1, with nitrous oxide 50 per cent in oxygen (low group) and nine were given propofol 9 mg kg-1 hr-1 with oxygen 100 per cent (high group). Pharmacokinetic variables were similar between the groups. The mean ± SD Vss = 2 .38 ± 1.16 L kg-1, Cl = 39.2 ± 9.75 ml min-1 kg-1 and t1/2β = 126 ± 68.7 min. At the time of delivery (8-16 min), the concentration of propofol ranged from 1.91-3.82 µg ml-1 in the maternal vein (MV), 1.00-2.00µg ml-1 in the umbilical vein (UV) and 0.53- 1.66 µg ml-1 in the umbilical artery (UA). Neonates with high UV concentrations of propofol at delivery had lower neurologic and adaptive capacity scores 15 minutes later. The concentrations of propofol were similar between groups during the infusion but they declined at a faster rate in the low group postoperatively. Maternal recovery times did not depend on the total dose of propofol but the concentration of propofol at the time of eye opening was greater in the high group than the low group (1.74 ± 0.51 vs 1.24 ± 0.32 µg ml-1, P < 0.01). The rapid placental transfer of propofol during Caesarean section requires propofol infusions to be given cautiously, especially when induction to delivery times are long.
- placenta drug transfer
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