Background: The profuse fluid losses and morbidity of patients suffering from obstructive ileus are closely related to inflammatory changes in the obstructed bowel wall. Previous experimental studies have shown that use of steroids and NSAIDs can reduce fluid losses in obstructive ileus. In the present study, we investigated the effects of lidocaine on fluid losses since local anesthetics have been shown to possess wide and potent anti-inflammatory properties. Hexamethonium and atropine were used to study the importance of the autonomic nervous system in bowel obstruction.
Method: Experiments were performed in rats in vivo. After 18 h of total obstruction of the jejunum by thread ligation, a segment of the obstructed jejunum was placed in a chamber with intact nervous and vascular supply and net fluid transport was continuously, registered by a gravimetric technique. Extravasation of Evans blue albumin as marker of inflammation was quantified by
Conclusion: Lidocaine significantly inhibited or prevented fluid losses when administered intravenously or topically to the obstructed gut. Mechanisms of action could be inhibition of nerve reflexes involved in fluid secretion and by inhibition of inflammation in the bowel wall. The inhibition of fluid losses by hexamethonium further supports the importance of the autonomic nervous system in the pathophysiology of bowel obstruction.