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Papers And Originals

Modification of Plasma Corticosteroid Concentrations during and after Surgery by Epidural Blockade

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 10 March 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:581
  1. N. H. Gordon,
  2. D. B. Scott,
  3. I. W. Percy Robb


    The adrenocortical response to major surgery was assessed by the measurement of plasma corticosteroid concentrations in patients receiving either a general anaesthetic alone or in combination with an epidural block. The expected increase in plasma corticosteroid concentration seen in the general anaesthesia group was significantly inhibited by epidural block. The inhibition was related to the duration of the epidural block. The lack of the normal adrenocortical response to surgery was not associated with cardiovascular collapse and indeed did not seem detrimental in any way. These findings question the need for corticosteroid “cover” for the stress of surgery in patients who have been taking corticosteroid drugs.