European Journal of Anaesthesiology

Original Article
(RD) Surgery

The effects of propofol on heart rate, arterial pressure and Aδ and C somatosympathetic reflexes in anaesthetized dogs

J. G. Whitwam a1c1, D. C. Galletly a2, D. Ma a1 and M. K. Chakrabarti a1
a1 Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London UK
a2 Wellington School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand

Article author query
whitwam jg   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
galletly dc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ma d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chakrabarti mk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The effects of propofol on mean arterial pressure, heart rate and Aδ and C somatosympathetic reflexes, recorded in renal nerves, evoked by repeated individual supramaximal electrical stimuli applied to radial nerves, were observed in anaesthetized, paralysed and artificially ventilated dogs. Propofol was infused at rates from 0.4 to 2.0 mg kg−1min−1. Mean C and Aδ reflexes were abolished at plasma concentrations (mean, SEM) of 24.3 (3.3) and 29.2 (2.6) μg mL−1 (P < 0.05), respectively, when mean arterial pressure and mean heart rate were reduced by approximately 55% (P < 0.01) and 26% (P > 0.05), respectively. Recovery of Aδ and C reflexes occurred at plasma concentrations of 13.1 (2.3) and 9.9 (1.3) μg mL−1 (P > 0.05), respectively. There was a logarithmically linearly related fall in mean arterial pressure by 70% up to a plasma concentration [approximate]97 μg mL−1 (r2=0.7) with a 28% reduction in heart rate which was uncorrelated with the plasma concentrations (r2=0.12). In conclusion, propofol abolished Aδ and C responses at comparable plasma concentrations and caused a major reduction in both mean arterial pressure and heart rate which is consistent with resetting of the baroreflexes. The reduction in mean arterial pressure was logarithmically, linearly correlated with a progressive increase in plasma concentrations without evidence of a ceiling effect.

(Published Online August 16 2006)
(Accepted September 1999)

Key Words: intravenous anaesthetic; propofol; nerve fibre; Aδ and C; circulation; heart rate and blood pressure; nociceptive reflex; sympathetic nervous system.

c1 Correspondence: J. G. Whitwam, Flat 47 A Regis House, Beaumont Street, London, UK.