Greater peripheral blood flow but less bleeding with propofol versus sevoflurane during spine surgery: A possible physiologic model?

Andrea Albertin, Luca La Colla, Azzurra Gandolfi, Eleonora Colnaghi, Davide Mandelli, Giuseppe Gioia, Gianfranco Fraschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design. Prospective, randomized, single blind. Objective. To compare the effects of sevoflurane and propofol on lumbar-paraspinal-muscles regional blood flow, as well as bleeding when controlled hypotension is used. Summary of Background Data. Controlled hypotension is the technique of choice to reduce blood loss during spine surgery, but changes in blood flow occurring to lumbar paraspinal muscles during controlled hypotension with propofol and sevoflurane, as well as the entity of bleeding, are unknown. Methods. Blood flow was assessed by means of a laser Doppler flowmeter during the prehypotensive and hypotensive (defined as a 15% reduction of baseline mean arterial pressure) period in 28 patients (aged 28-73 years, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I-II) undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Patients were randomized to receive either sevoflurane or propofol as main anesthetic agent to achieve hypotension. At the end of the surgery, blood loss was calculated and intraoperative bleeding (Visual Analogue Scale ranging from 0 to 100) was evaluated by the surgeon. RESULTS. Peripheral Blood flow was significantly greater in the propofol group both before and during the hypotensive period (median values of 32.7 FU vs. 7.7 and 38.5 FU vs. 10.5, respectively). Despite this fact, blood loss and intraoperative bleeding were significantly reduced when propofol had been used (P <0.05). Conclusion. Despite the greater blood flow when it is used, propofol causes less bleeding than sevoflurane during spine surgery and could be more indicated to produce hypotension during anesthesia. Moreover, it is possible to explain our findings hypothesizing a selective vasodilation of propofol (postcapillary, venous vasodilation), different from that of sevoflurane (precapillary, arteriolar vasodilation).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2017-2022
Number of pages6
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2008


  • Bleeding
  • Hypotensive anesthesia
  • Paraspinal muscle blood flow
  • Propofol
  • Sevoflurane
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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