Epidural Morphine Decreases Postoperative Hypertension by Attenuating Sympathetic Nervous System Hyperactivity

Michael J. Breslow, Desmond A. Jordan, Rose Christopherson, Brian Rosenfeld, Clair F. Miller, Daniel F. Hanley, Charles Beattie, Richard J. Traystman, Mark C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Twenty-four adults who were undergoing operations on the abdominal aorta were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which epidural morphine sulfate (6 mg) was employed to attenuate the sympathoadrenal response to surgery to evaluate the possible contribution of sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity to postoperative hypertension. Patients who received epidural morphine required less parenteral morphine in the 24 hours following surgery, had lower analogue pain scores, and had markedly lower plasma norepinephrine levels when compared with patients in the control group who received an identical volume of saline in the epidural space. Epidural morphine had no effect on plasma epinephrine or arginine vasopressin levels. Fewer patients in the morphine group (4 of 12 vs 9 of 12 patients in the saline group) required treatment for hypertension (mean arterial blood pressure, ≥110 mm Hg) in the 24 hours following surgery. In addition, patients in the morphine group had lower blood pressures in the 24 hours following surgery. These data suggest that sympathetic nervous system activity and not adrenal epinephrine or pituitary secretion of arginine vasopressin is responsible for the development of hypertension following aortic surgery. Furthermore, epidural narcotics appear to provide a means of attenuating this response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3577-3581
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume261
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 23 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Breslow, M. J., Jordan, D. A., Christopherson, R., Rosenfeld, B., Miller, C. F., Hanley, D. F., Beattie, C., Traystman, R. J., & Rogers, M. C. (1989). Epidural Morphine Decreases Postoperative Hypertension by Attenuating Sympathetic Nervous System Hyperactivity. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 261(24), 3577-3581. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1989.03420240091033