Systemic and local effects of lidocaine or mepivacaine when used for intravenous regional anaesthesia of the distal limb in standing sedated horses

Jose L Mendez-Angulo, Maria M. Granados, Rolf Modesto, Juan M. Serrano-Rodriguez, Francisco J. Funes, Setefilla Quiros, Rafael J. Gomez-Villamandos, Sara Zaldívar, Troy N. Trumble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Local anaesthetics are being combined clinically with amikacin in intravenous regional limb perfusion (IVRLP), with limited knowledge on the analgesia provided and its onset and duration of action after tourniquet application and release. Objective: To evaluate the systemic clinical effect, limb withdrawal to nociceptive stimulation, and plasma and synovial fluid concentrations after IVRLP with lidocaine or mepivacaine in standing sedated horses. Study design: Prospective, controlled, randomised, cross-over study. Methods: Six healthy adult horses were sedated and received IVRLP with lidocaine, mepivacaine or saline (negative control), or perineural anaesthesia of the medial and lateral palmar and palmar metacarpal nerves (positive control) in one forelimb with a 3-week washout period between trials. Electrical and mechanical stimuli were used to test nociceptive threshold of the limb before and after IVRLP/perineural anaesthesia. For lidocaine and mepivacaine trials, blood was collected from the jugular vein and synovial fluid from the radiocarpal joint before, during and out to 24 hours after IVRLP. Drug concentrations were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. Results: Nociceptive thresholds for lidocaine, mepivacaine and perineural anaesthesia trials were significantly increased compared with saline and baseline values at 10, 20 and 30 minutes, with no differences between anaesthetic trials. During this time, horses had lower heart rates than IVRLP with saline. After tourniquet release at 30 minutes, nociceptive thresholds for lidocaine and mepivacaine trials gradually returned to baselines, whereas perineural anaesthesia trial remained unchanged out to an hour. Plasma lidocaine and mepivacaine concentrations were ≤50 ng/mL while the tourniquet was in place, significantly increasing 10 minutes after tourniquet release. Maximal lidocaine and mepivacaine concentrations in synovial fluid were reached 25 minutes after IVRLP injection. Main limitations: Amikacin was not included in the perfusate. Conclusion: Similar to perineural anaesthesia, IVRLP with lidocaine or mepivacaine provides anti-nociception to the distal limb in standing sedated horses while a tourniquet is applied with concentrations remaining below toxic levels in plasma and synovial fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-751
Number of pages9
JournalEquine veterinary journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, 14014, Spain. We would like to acknowledge the Equine Sport Medicine Center (CEMEDE) of the University of Córdoba (Spain) for allowing us to use the facilities and the horses involved in this study. In addition, we would like to thank Ana Muñoz, Maria Esgueva, Maria López and all veterinary students who helped us with the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 EVJ Ltd


  • Bier Block
  • analgesia
  • horse
  • local anaesthetic


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