Arterial plasma concentrations of ropivacaine were measured after brachial plexus blockade using four different approaches: lateral interscalene (Winnie), posterior interscalene (Pippa), axillary and vertical infraclavicular. Four groups of 10 patients were given a single 3.75 injection of ropivacaine 7.5 The pharmacokinetics of ropivacaine were evaluated for 1 h after local anaesthetic injection. The supraclavicular techniques (lateral and posterior) were associated with earlier and higher peak plasma concentrations of local anaesthetic than the infraclavicular techniques (axillary and vertical infraclavicular): mean (SD) values=3.30 (0.65) μ vs 2.55 (0.62) μ (p = 0.001) in 13.4 (6.9) min vs 25.0 (10.8) min (p = 0.0002). More ropivacaine is taken up by the systemic circulation in the first hour after the supraclavicular approaches; the mean (SD) area under the concentration-time curve was larger: 2.63 (0.51) μ vs 2.10 (0.49) μ (p=0.002). These results show that the technique used for brachial plexus blockade significantly influences the systemic uptake of ropivacaine.

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Journal Anaesthesia
Rettig, H.C, Lerou, J.G.C, Gielen, M.J.M, Boersma, H, & Burm, A.G.L. (2007). The pharmacokinetics of ropivacaine after four different techniques of brachial plexus blockade. Anaesthesia, 62(10), 1008–1014. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2044.2007.05197.x