Haemodynamic effects of atropine during halothane or isoflurane anaesthesia in infants and small children

David J. Murray, Robert B. Forbes, Judith B. Dillman, Larry T. Mahoney, David L. Dull

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19 Scopus citations


In this study, two-dimensional and pulsed Doppler echocardiography were used to measure cardiovascular changes before and after IV atropine in 31 infants and small children during halothane (n = 15) or isoflurane (n = 16) anaesthesia. Prior to induction of anaesthesia heart rate (HR), mean blood pressure (MBP), and two0dimensional echocardiographic dimensions of the left ventricle and pulmonary artery bloodflow velocity were measured by pulsed Doppler echocardiography. Cardiovascular measurements were repeated while anaesthesia was maintained at 1.5 MAC halothane (n = 15) or isoflurane (n = 16). Atropine 0.02 mg·kg-1 IV was then administered and two minutes later, a third set of cardiovascular data was obtained. Heart rate decreased during halothane anaesthesia but did not change significantly during isoflurane anaesthesia. Mean blood pressure, cardiac output (CO) and stroke volume (SV) decreased similarly during 1.5 MAC halothane or isoflurane anaesthesia. Ejection fraction (EF) decreased and left ventricular end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) increased significantly in bothgroups, but decreases in EF (32 ± 5 percentvs18 ± 5 per cent) and increases in LVEDV (18 ± 7 per cent vs7 ± 5 per cent) were significantly greater during halothane than during isoflurane anaesthesia. Following atropine, HR increased more in the patients maintained with halothane (31 ± 6 per cent), than during isoflurane anaesthesia (18 ± 5 per cent). Atropine increased CO in both groups of patients, but SV and EF remained unchanged. When compared with awake values, HR increased similarly and significantly (18 ± 4 per cent) following atropine in both groups, and CO returned to control levels. Halothane decreased EF and increased LVEDV more than isoflurane at 1.5 MAC end- expired anaesthetic levels. Atropine did not diminish the myocardial depression produced by halothane or isoflurane. The increase in CO following atropine during halothane and isoflurane anaesthesia in infants and small children is the result of increases in HR alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1989


  • anaesthesia paediatric
  • anaethetics, volatile: halothane, isoflurane
  • heart: echocardiography, myocardial function
  • measurement technique: pulsed Doppler echocardiography, two-dimentional echocardiography


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