OBJECTIVE To determine effects of equipotent concentrations of fentanyl and isoflurane, compared with isoflurane alone, on cardiovascular variables in New Zealand White rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). ANIMALS 6 adult female New Zealand White rabbits. PROCEDURES Rabbits were anesthetized with isoflurane, and lungs were mechanically ventilated. The minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of isoflurane alone (baseline) and with fentanyl administered IV to achieve 3 targeted plasma concentrations was determined for each rabbit by means of an electrical stimulus. Cardiovascular variables were measured in a separate experiment at 1.3X isoflurane MAC and equipotent doses of isoflurane plus fentanyl at the same 3 targeted plasma concentrations. Blood samples were collected for measurement of blood gas variables and plasma fentanyl concentrations. Treatment effects were evaluated by repeated-measures ANOVA followed by 2-tailed paired t tests with sequentially rejective Bonferroni correction. RESULTS Mean ± SD MAC of isoflurane was 1.95 ± 0.27%. Mean measured plasma fentanyl concentrations of 4.97, 8.93, and 17.19 ng/mL reduced isoflurane MAC by 17%, 37%, and 56%, respectively. Mean measured plasma fentanyl concentrations during cardiovascular measurements were 5.49, 10.26, and 18.40 ng/ mL. Compared with baseline measurements, heart rate was significantly lower at all 3 plasma fentanyl concentrations, mean arterial blood pressure and systemic vascular resistance were significantly higher at mean fentanyl concentrations of 10.26 and 18.40 ng/mL, and cardiac output was significantly higher at 18.40 ng of fentanyl/mL. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Administration of fentanyl in isoflurane-anesthetized rabbits resulted in improved mean arterial blood pressure and cardiac output, compared with isoflurane alone. This balanced anesthesia technique may prove useful in the management of clinical cases in this species.
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