Comparison of the arrhythmogenicity of acepromazine, xylazine and their combination in pentobarbital-anesthetized rats
Preanesthetic medications are often used in combination with injectable anesthetics in a variety of laboratory animal species. Simultaneous administration of sedative drugs, such as alpha2-adrenergic agonists and phenothiazines, provides muscle relaxation and reduces induction doses of anesthetic agents. However, these drugs may have significant cardiovascular and arrythmogenic effects which may contribute to anesthetic morbidity and mortality (Dyson et al., 1998).
Results of previous reports indicate that xylazine, an alpha2-adrenergic agonist, may sensitize the myocardium to epinephrine in dogs anesthetized with halothane (Muir et al., 1975; Tranquilli et al., 1986), isoflurane (Tranquilli et al., 1988) and ketamine (Wright et al., 1987); whereas, acepromazine, a phenothiazine tranquilizer, possessed a protective action against catecholamine-induced arrhythmia in dogs anesthetized with halothane (Muir et al., 1975; Dyson & Pettifer, 1997). The male rat has been used as an animal model to determine the arrhythmic doses of epinephrine during halothane and isoflurane anesthesia (Laster et al., 1990).
Rats are commonly used for scientific research and may be anesthetized using injectable or inhalant anesthetic agents for a variety of surgical procedures (Flecknell, 2009); however, injectable anesthetics are commonly preferred in a laboratory setting.
Pentobarbital, as a short acting barbiturate anesthetic, is used for short surgical procedures in rats. It is rapidly absorbed following intraperitoneal administration and provide anesthesia for up to 60 min in the rat (Flecknell, 2009).
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of clinical doses of acepromazine, xylazine and their combination on the occurrence of epinephrine induced arrhythmia in rats under pentobarbital anesthesia.