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Anaesthesia in medetomidine premedicated New Zealand White rabbits: a comparison between intravenous sufentanil–midazolam and isoflurane anaesthesia for orthopaedic surgery

Hedenqvist, Patricia, Edner, Anna, Jensen-Waern, Marianne
Laboratory animals 2014 v.48 no.2 pp. 155-163
anesthesia, blood glucose, blood pressure, blood serum, carbon dioxide, females, femur, heart rate, intravenous injection, isoflurane, laboratory animals, lactic acid, medetomidine, orthopedics, protein content, protocols, rabbits, surgery
Eighteen female New Zealand White rabbits (3.9 ± 0.4 kg) were anaesthetized with sufentanil–midazolam by intravenous infusion (SUF–MID, n = 9) or isoflurane (ISO, n = 9) for bilateral creation of an osteochondral defect in the medial femur condyle. Subcutaneous premedication with 0.1 mg/kg medetomidine and anaesthesia induction by intravenous infusion of 1.1 µg/kg sufentanil and 0.2 mg/kg midazolam were identical in both groups. During surgery (60 min), the effects on respiratory and circulatory variables serum lactate, total protein and blood glucose were examined. Intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV) was initiated if apnoea lasted>30 s or if end-tidal CO₂ ≥8 kPa. The righting reflex was lost in 3 min. IPPV was necessary during most of the anaesthesia for most of the rabbits. Maintenance doses during surgery were 2.0 µg/kg/h sufentanil and 0.4 mg/kg/h midazolam, and 1.4% isoflurane, respectively. Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) was higher in group SUF–MID than group ISO during surgery (63 ± 12 vs 50 ± 8 mmHg). In group ISO the heart rate was higher during surgery than before anaesthesia (197 ± 26 vs 158 ± 40 bpm) as was blood glucose (9 ± 2 vs 12 ± 3 mmol/L). Serum lactate levels remained unchanged whereas total protein decreased in both groups. Time to recover from anaesthesia did not differ between groups (20 min). Intravenous sufentanil–midazolam infusion provided surgical anaesthesia with a higher MAP than isoflurane anaesthesia. The protocol can be useful in situations in which gas anaesthesia cannot be used or in animals with limited cardiovascular reserves. However, IPPV is necessary.