This study was undertaken to determine whether intravenous lignocaine could mitigate or prevent the ocular reactions and especially the acute increase in intraocular pressure associated with laryngoscopy and tracheal intubation. Two groups of children undergoing minor eye surgery under nitrous oxide-oxygen-halothane anaesthesia were examined. The experimental group (n = 17) received 2 mg/kg lignocaine and the controls (n = 18) an equivalent volume of saline. The incidence of local laryngeal and ocular reflexes was much lower in the lignocaine group. Pulse acceleration was significantly lower in the lignocaine group (p less than 0.025), and the maximal mean intraocular pressure was significantly less than in the control group (p less than 0.005). Other ocular reactions were recorded, and all were attenuated after lignocaine administration. The beneficial effects of lignocaine, a suppressant of autonomic reflexes, suggest that intraocular pressure, like the heart rate, rises after intubation as a result of autonomic stimulation. The use of intravenous lignocaine is thus recommended for children at risk, such as those needing an urgent operation because of lacerated eye injury under rapid sequence induction of anaesthesia.
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