Background: The effects of sedative and anesthetic agents on sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) are poorly understood. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of commonly used sedative and anesthetic agents on SNA in ambulatory dogs and humans. Methods: We implanted radiotransmitters in 6 dogs to record stellate ganglion nerve activity (SGNA), subcutaneous nerve activity (ScNA), and blood pressure (BP). After recovery, we injected dexmedetomidine (3 μg/kg), morphine (0.1 mg/kg), hydromorphone (0.05 mg/kg), and midazolam (0.1 mg/kg) on different days. We also studied 12 human patients (10 male; age 68.0 ± 9.1 years old) undergoing cardioversion for atrial fibrillation with propofol (0.77 ± 0.18 mg/kg) or methohexital (0.65 mg/kg) anesthesia. Skin sympathetic nerve activity (SKNA) and electrocardiogram were recorded during the study. Results: SGNA and ScNA were significantly suppressed immediately after administration of dexmedetomidine (P = .000 and P = .000, respectively), morphine (P = .011 and P = .014, respectively), and hydromorphone (P = .000 and P = .012, respectively), along with decreased BP and heart rate (HR) (P <.001 for each). Midazolam had no significant effect on SGNA and ScNA (P = .248 and P = .149, respectively) but increased HR (P = .015) and decreased BP (P = .004) in ambulatory dogs. In patients undergoing cardioversion, bolus propofol administration significantly suppressed SKNA (from 1.11 ± 0.25 μV to 0.77 ± 0.15 μV; P = .001), and the effects lasted for at least 10 minutes after the final cardioversion shock. Methohexital decreased chest SKNA from 1.59 ± 0.45 μV to 1.22 ± 0.58 μV (P = .000) and arm SKNA from 0.76 ± 0.43 μV to 0.55 ± 0.07 μV (P = .001). The effects lasted for at least 10 minutes after the cardioversion shock. Conclusion: Propofol, methohexital, dexmedetomidine, morphine, and hydromorphone suppressed, but midazolam had no significant effects on, SNA.
- Anesthetic agents
- Skin sympathetic nerve activity
- Stellate ganglion nerve activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)