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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2001 December;67(12):881-6

language: Italian

Technical difficulties in epidural blocks and bleeding spinal complications

Nava S., Rossignoli L., V. Tagariello V. *, Bertini L.

Ospedale CTO - Roma Servizio Anestesia e Rianimazione
*Ospedale S. Pietro Fatebenefratelli - Roma


The clinical cases of two patients with neurological complications following neuroaxial blocks are reported. The events took place in different institutions where thousands of central blocks were yearly performed. In both instances the blocking procedures presented technical difficulties needing repeated lumbar punctures. The first case concerns a patient receiving anticoagulant and fibrinolytic therapy for vascular pathology. This 89 year-old female experienced severe cord compression requiring surgical decompression and laminectomy. The second case regards a patient with previous minor surgical procedure requiring postoperative antiinflammatory treatment. This 74 year-old male experienced subarachnoid hemorrhage and spinal/epidural hematoma as shown by NMR. The symptoms regressed with steroid therapy. The authors emphasise the risks of mechanical trauma of epidural or spinal anesthesia both during positioning or removal of an epidural catheter. The problem related to the compatibility between central blocks and antithrombotic/anticoagulant prophylaxis/therapy is now of primary concern and has led to publications about guide lines on this topic. If central block is carried out in patients with bleeding diathesis it is mandatory to co-ordinate multidisciplinary assistance for early detection of significant symptoms of the above described complications and subsequent treatment.

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