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Keywords:

  • Anaesthetics, local;
  • lignocaine. Ions;
  • magnesium. Anaesthetic techniques, regional;
  • intrathecal

We have previously demonstrated in a rat model that the lumbar intrathecal injection of 0.02 ml 6.3% magnesium sulphate, a concentration iso-osmolar with rat plasma, produces a state of spinal anaesthesia and general sedation which reversed completely after 6 h, without evidence of neurotoxicity, immediately or during the week thereafter. Using the same model and five groups of six animals in each, we administered the same volume and concentration of magnesium sulphate and compared its clinical effects with those of 0.02 ml 12.6% magnesium sulphate, 0.02 ml 2% lignocaine and 0.02 ml 0.9% sodium chloride solution, given as a series of 15 injections on alternate days for a period of 1 month. The animals were then killed and their spinal cords and meninges examined histologically. No significant differences were noted in the times of onset, durations of sensory and motor blockade and the times to full recovery throughout the entire period of 1 month’s observation in the animals receiving intrathecal 6.3% magnesium sulphate. In the group receiving 12.6% magnesium sulphate, the time of onset of sensory and motor blockade was shorter and the duration of both parameters was significantly longer than in the former group. Full clinical recovery and resumption of normal eating and drinking took place in both groups throughout the entire series of 15 successive intrathecal injections. Identical, mild, uniform histopathological changes in the spinal cord were seen in all the five groups, including the group in which only the intrathecal catheter was implanted. The complete recovery and benign consequences of repeated intrathecal injections of iso-osmolar magnesium sulphate in a rat model indicate a lack of neurotoxicity and provide an impetus for further trials in larger animal species, before initial clinical trials of this substance, given intrathecally, in humans.