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Tracking local anesthetic effects using a novel perceptual reference approach.

Ettlin, Dominik A; Lukic, Nenad; Abazi, Jetmir; Widmayer, Sonja; Meier, Michael L.
J Neurophysiol; 115(3): 1730-4, 2016 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26792885
Drug effects of loco-regional anesthetics are commonly measured by unidimensional pain rating scales. These scales require subjects to transform their perceptual correlates of stimulus intensities onto a visual, verbal, or numerical construct that uses a unitless cognitive reference frame. The conceptual understanding and execution of this magnitude estimation task may vary among individuals and populations. To circumvent inherent shortcomings of conventional experimental pain scales, this study used a novel perceptual reference approach to track subjective sensory perceptions during onset of an analgesic nerve block. In 34 male subjects, nociceptive electric stimuli of 1-ms duration were repetitively applied to left (target) and right (reference) mandibular canines every 5 s for 600 s, with a side latency of 1 ms. Stimulus strength to the target canine was programmed to evoke a tolerable pain intensity perception and remained constant at this level throughout the experiment. A dose of 0.6 ml of articaine 4% was submucosally injected at the left mental foramen. Subjects then reported drug effects by adjusting the stimulus strength (in milliamperes) to the reference tooth, so that the perceived intensity in the reference tooth was equi-intense to the target tooth. Pain and stimulus perception offsets were indicated by subjects. Thus, the current approach for matching the sensory experience in one anatomic location after regional anesthesia allows detailed tracking of evolving perceptual changes in another location. This novel perceptual reference approach facilitates direct and accurate quantification of analgesic effects with high temporal resolution. We propose using this method for future experimental investigations of analgesic/anesthetic drug efficacy.