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      Safety and efficacy of epidural analgesia

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          Most cited references 62

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          Severe neurological complications after central neuraxial blockades in Sweden 1990-1999.

          Central neuraxial blockades find widespread applications. Severe complications are believed to be extremely rare, but the incidence is probably underestimated. A retrospective study of severe neurologic complications after central neuraxial blockades in Sweden 1990-1999 was performed. Information was obtained from a postal survey and administrative files in the health care system. During the study period approximately 1,260,000 spinal blockades and 450,000 epidural blockades were administered, including 200,000 epidural blockades for pain relief in labor. : The 127 complications found included spinal hematoma (33), cauda equina syndrome (32), meningitis (29), epidural abscess (13), and miscellaneous (20). Permanent neurologic damage was observed in 85 patients. Incidence of complications after spinal blockade was within 1:20-30,000 in all patient groups. Incidence after obstetric epidural blockade was 1:25,000; in the remaining patients it was 1:3600 (P < 0.0001). Spinal hematoma after obstetric epidural blockade carried the incidence 1:200,000, significantly lower than the incidence 1:3,600 females subject to knee arthroplasty (P < 0.0001). : More complications than expected were found, probably as a result of the comprehensive study design. Half of the complications were retrieved exclusively from administrative files. Complications occur significantly more often after epidural blockade than after spinal blockade, and the complications are different. Obstetric patients carry significantly lower incidence of complications. Osteoporosis is proposed as a previously neglected risk factor. Close surveillance after central neuraxial blockade is mandatory for safe practice.
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            Spinal hematoma: a literature survey with meta-analysis of 613 patients.

            Spinal hematoma has been described in autopsies since 1682 and as a clinical diagnosis since 1867. It is a rare and usually severe neurological disorder that, without adequate treatment, often leads to death or permanent neurological deficit. Epidural as well as subdural and subarachnoid hematomas have been investigated. Some cases of subarachnoid spinal hematoma may present with symptoms similar to those of cerebral hemorrhage. The literature offers no reliable estimates of the incidence of spinal hematoma, perhaps due to the rarity of this disorder. In the present work, 613 case studies published between 1826 and 1996 have been evaluated, which represents the largest review on this topic to date. Most cases of spinal hematoma have a multifactorial etiology whose individual components are not all understood in detail. In up to a third of cases (29.7%) of spinal hematoma, no etiological factor can be identified as the cause of the bleeding. Following idiopathic spinal hematoma, cases related to anticoagulant therapy and vascular malformations represent the second and third most common categories. Spinal and epidural anesthetic procedures in combination with anticoagulant therapy represent the fifth most common etiological group and spinal and epidural anesthetic procedures alone represent the tenth most common cause of spinal hematoma. Anticoagulant therapy alone probably does not trigger spinal hemorrhage. It is likely that there must additionally be a "locus minoris resistentiae" together with increased pressure in the interior vertebral venous plexus in order to cause spinal hemorrhage. The latter two factors are thought to be sufficient to cause spontaneous spinal hematoma. Physicians should require strict indications for the use of spinal anesthetic procedures in patients receiving anticoagulant therapy, even if the incidence of spinal hematoma following this combination is low. If spinal anesthetic procedures are performed before, during, or after anticoagulant treatment, close monitoring of the neurological status of the patient is warranted. Time limits regarding the use of anticoagulant therapy before or after spinal anesthetic procedures have been proposed and are thought to be safe for patients. Investigation of the coagulation status alone does not necessarily provide an accurate estimate of the risk of hemorrhage. The most important measure for recognizing patients at high risk is a thorough clinical history. Most spinal hematomas are localized dorsally to the spinal cord at the level of the cervicothoracic and thoracolumbar regions. Subarachnoid hematomas can extend along the entire length of the subarachnoid space. Epidural and subdural spinal hematoma present with intense, knife-like pain at the location of the hemorrhage ("coup de poignard") that may be followed in some cases by a pain-free interval of minutes to days, after which there is progressive paralysis below the affected spinal level. Subarachnoid hematoma can be associated with meningitis symptoms, disturbances of consciousness, and epileptic seizures and is often misdiagnosed as cerebral hemorrhage based on these symptoms. Most patients are between 55 and 70 years old. Of all patients with spinal hemorrhage, 63.9% are men. The examination of first choice is magnetic resonance imaging. The treatment of choice is surgical decompression. Of the patients investigated in the present work, 39.6% experienced complete recovery. The less severe the preoperative symptoms are and the more quickly surgical decompression can be performed, the better are the chances for complete recovery. It is therefore essential to recognize the relatively typical clinical presentation of spinal hematoma in a timely manner to allow correct diagnostic and therapeutic measures to be taken to maximize the patient's chance of complete recovery.
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              Neurological complications after regional anesthesia: contemporary estimates of risk.

              Regional anesthesia (RA) provides excellent anesthesia and analgesia for many surgical procedures. Anesthesiologists and patients must understand the risks in addition to the benefits of RA to make an informed choice of anesthetic technique. Many studies that have investigated neurological complications after RA are dated, and do not reflect the increasing indications and applications of RA nor the advances in training and techniques. In this brief narrative review we collate the contemporary investigations of neurological complications after the most common RA techniques. We reviewed all 32 studies published between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2005 where the primary intent was to investigate neurological complications of RA. The sample size of the studies that investigated neurological complications after central and peripheral (PNB) nerve blockade ranged from 4185 to 1,260,000 and 20 to 10,309 blocks, respectively. The rate of neuropathy after spinal and epidural anesthesia was 3.78:10,000 (95% CI: 1.06-13.50:10,000) and 2.19:10,000 (95% CI: 0.88-5.44:10,000), respectively. For common PNB techniques, the rate of neuropathy after interscalene brachial plexus block, axillary brachial plexus block, and femoral nerve block was 2.84:100 (95% CI 1.33-5.98:100), 1.48:100 (95% CI: 0.52-4.11:100), and 0.34:100 (95% CI: 0.04-2.81:100), respectively. The rate of permanent neurological injury after spinal and epidural anesthesia ranged from 0-4.2:10,000 and 0-7.6:10,000, respectively. Only one case of permanent neuropathy was reported among 16 studies of neurological complications after PNB. Our review suggests that the rate of neurological complications after central nerve blockade is <4:10,000, or 0.04%. The rate of neuropathy after PNB is <3:100, or 3%. However, permanent neurological injury after RA is rare in contemporary anesthetic practice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology
                Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                0952-7907
                2017
                December 2017
                : 30
                : 6
                : 736-742
                Article
                10.1097/ACO.0000000000000516
                © 2017
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