Spinal epidural hematoma is a well known complication of spinal surgery. Clinically insignificant small epidural hematomas develop in most spinal surgeries following laminectomy. However, the incidence of clinically significant postoperative spinal epidural hematomas that result in neurological deficits is extremely rare. In this report, we present a 33-year-old female patient whose spinal surgery resulted in postoperative spinal epidural hematoma. She was diagnosed with lumbar disc disease and underwent hemipartial lumbar laminectomy and discectomy. After twelve hours postoperation, her neurologic status deteriorated and cauda equina syndrome with acute spinal epidural hematoma was identified. She was immediately treated with surgical decompression and evacuation of the hematoma. The incidence of epidural hematoma after spinal surgery is rare, but very serious complication. Spinal epidural hematomas can cause significant spinal cord and cauda equina compression, requiring surgical intervention. Once diagnosed, the patient should immediately undergo emergency surgical exploration and evacuation of the hematoma.
Routine coagulation tests have a low predictability for perioperative bleeding complications, and spinal hematoma after removal of epidural catheters is very infrequent. Thromboelastometry and point-of-care platelet aggregometry may improve hemostatic monitoring but have not been studied in the context of safety around epidural removal.
Twenty patients who received an epidural catheter for major thoracoabdominal and abdominal surgery were included prospectively. In addition to routine coagulation tests, rotational thromboelastometry and multiple electrode platelet aggregometry were carried out.
A coagulation deficit was suggested by routine coagulation tests on the intended day of epidural catheter removal in four out of 20 patients. Prothrombin time-international normalized ratio was elevated to 1.5 in one patient (normal range: 0.9 to 1.2) while rotational thromboelastometry and multiple electrode platelet aggregometry parameters were within normal limits. Activated partial thromboplastin time was elevated to 47 to 50 seconds in the remaining three patients (normal range 28 to 45 seconds). Rotational thromboelastometry showed that one of the patients’ results was due to heparin effect: the clotting time with the HEPTEM® activator was 154 seconds as compared to 261 seconds with INTEM. The three remaining patients with prolonged routine coagulation test results had all received over 1L of hydroxyethyl starch (Venofundin®) and thrombosis prophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin (enoxaparin). Rotational thromboelastometry and multiple electrode platelet aggregometrygave normal or hypercoagulative signals in most patients.
This case series is new in that it examines rotational thromboelastometry and multiple electrode platelet aggregometry postoperatively in the context of epidural analgesia and shows that they may be clinically useful. These methods should be validated before they can be used for standard patient care.
aPTT; Epidural anesthesia; Epidural hematoma; Hydroxyethyl starch; Multiplate®; Platelet aggregometry; PT-INR; ROTEM®; Thromboelastography
We present a rare case of delayed onset of epidural hematoma after lumbar surgery whose only presenting symptom was vesicorectal disturbance. A 68-year-old man with degenerative spinal stenosis underwent lumbar decompression and instrumented posterolateral spine fusion. The day after his discharge following an unremarkable postoperative course, he presented to the emergency room complaining of difficulty in urination. An MRI revealed an epidural fluid collection causing compression of the thecal sac. The fluid was evacuated, revealing a postoperative hematoma. After removal of the hematoma, his symptoms disappeared immediately, and his urinary function completely recovered. Most reports have characterized postoperative epidural hematoma as occurring early after operation and accompanied with neurological deficits. But it can happen even two weeks after spinal surgery with no pain. Surgeons thus may need to follow up patients for at least a few weeks because some complications, such as epidural hematomas, could take that long to manifest themselves.
Subfascial wound suction drains are commonly used after spinal surgery to decrease the incidence of post-operative hematoma. However, there is a paucity of literature regarding their effectiveness.
To report four cases of post-operative spinal epidural hematoma causing massive neurological deficit in patients who had subfascial suction wound drains.
During an 8-year period, a retrospective review of 1750 consecutive adult spinal surgery cases was performed to determine the incidence, commonalities, and outcomes of catastrophic neurological deficit caused by post-operative spinal epidural hematoma.
Epidural hematoma causing major neurological deficit (American Spinal Injury Association B) was identified in 4 out of 1750 patients (0.23%). All four patients in this series had subfascial wound suction drains placed prophylactically at the conclusion of their initial procedure.
Three patients developed massive neurological deficits with the drain in place; one patient had the drain removed at 24 hours and subsequently developed neurological symptoms during the following post-operative day. Significant risk factors for the development of hematoma were identified in two of the four patients. Average time to return to the operating room for hematoma evacuation was 6 hours (range 3–12 hours). Neurological status significantly improved in all four patients after hematoma evacuation.
Post-operative epidural hematoma causing catastrophic neurological deficit is a rare complication after spinal surgery. The presence of suction wound drains does not appear to prevent the occurrence of this devastating complication.
Epidural hematoma; Suction drainage; Spinal cord injuries; Laminectomy; Spinal decompression
Although postoperative spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) is not uncommon, hematomas that require surgery are rare. Cauda equina syndrome (CES) may be associated with postoperative SEH. In these cases, early recognition and emergency decompression can prevent further damage and better neurologic recovery.
A 41-year-old man underwent two-level discectomy with insertion of an interspinous spacer at L3-4 and L4-5 because of low back pain and radiculopathy. Eight hours after the operation, the patient developed CES. MRI revealed SEH compressing posteriorly at the L3-4 level. On emergency decompression and hematoma evacuation, the interspinous spacer had obstructed the laminotomy site at L3-4 completely, blocking drainage to the drain. The patient experienced complete neurologic recovery by 2 months followup.
Many studies report risk factors for SEH. However, postoperative SEH can also be encountered in patients without these risks. One study reported a critical ratio (preoperative versus postoperative cross-sectional area) correlated with postoperative symptoms, especially in those with CES. The propensity to develop CES is likely dependent on a number of patient-specific factors.
Surgeons should be aware that patients without risk factors may develop acute CES. Wider laminotomy (larger than half of the device size) may help to prevent this complication when one uses the compressible type of device, especially in patients with relatively small lamina.
Bilateral extradural hematomas have only rarely been reported in the literature. Even rarer are cases where the hematomas develop sequentially, one after removal of the other. Among 187 cases of operated epidural hematomas during past 4 years in our hospital, we found one case of sequentially developed bilateral epidural hematoma.
An 18-year-old conscious male worker was admitted to our hospital after a fall. After deterioration of his consciousness, an emergency brain CT scan showed a right temporoparietal epidural hematoma. The hematoma was evacuated, but the patient did not improve afterwards. Another CT scan showed contralateral epidural hematoma and the patient was reoperated. Postoperatively, the patient recovered completely.
This case underlines the need for monitoring after an operation for an epidural hematoma and the need for repeat brain CT scans if the patient does not recover quickly after removal of the hematoma, especially if the first CT scan has been done less than 6 hours after the trauma. Intraoperative brain swelling can be considered as a clue for the development of contralateral hematoma.
bialteral; epidual; hematoma
The addition of thoracic epidural anesthesia to general anesthesia during cardiac surgery may have a beneficial effect on clinical outcome. However, epidural catheter insertion in a patient anticoagulated with heparin may increase the risk of epidural hematoma. We report a case of epidural hematoma in a 55-year-old male patient who had a thoracic epidural placed under general anesthesia preceding uneventful mitral valve replacement and tricuspid valve annular plasty. During the immediate postoperative period and first postoperative day, prothrombin time (PT) and activate partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) were mildly prolonged. On the first postoperative day, he complained of motor weakness of the lower limbs and back pain. An immediate MRI of the spine was performed and it revealed an epidural hematoma at the T5-6 level. Rapid surgical decompression resulted in a recovery of his neurological abnormalities to near normal levels. Management and preventing strategies of epidural hematoma are discussed.
Analgesia; Epidural; Hematoma; Postoperative complications; Spinal
We describe a case of acute lumbar epidural hematoma at the L2-3 level complicated by paraplegia, which occurred after coagulation disorder because of massive bleeding intraoperatively in cesarean section. The preoperative coagulation laboratory finding was in normal range and so we tried combined spinal epidural anesthesia. Uterine atony occurred in the operation, and there was persistant bleeding during and after the operation. After the operation, she complained of paresthesia on her both legs and was diagnosed with epidural hematoma (EDH) by radiologic examination. Emergency laminectomy on lumbar spine was carried out for hematoma evacuation and decompression of the epidural space at once. In our experience, massive bleeding during surgery may potentially increase the risk of EDH postoperatively.
Blood coagulation disorder; Cesarean section; Epidural anesthesia; Epidural hematoma; Postpartum hemorrhage; Spinal anesthesia
We report here on a case of a 23-year-old male who received en block spondylectomy for a vertebral Ewing's sarcoma at our hospital. Nine days after surgery, he presented with severe back pain and motor weakness of the lower extremities. Based on the physical examination and the computed tomography scan, he was diagnosed with acute cauda equina syndrome that was caused by compression from an epidural hematoma. His neurological functions recovered after emergency evacuation of the hematoma. This case showed that extensive surgery for a malignant vertebral tumor has a potential risk of delayed epidural hematoma and acute cauda equina syndrome and this should be treated with emergency evacuation.
Epidural hematoma; Ewing's sarcoma; Spine; En block spondylectomy
Hematoma associated with epidural catheterization is rare, but the diagnosis might be suspected relatively frequently. We sought to estimate the incidence of suspected epidural hematoma after epidural catheterization, and to determine the associated cost of excluding or diagnosing an epidural hematoma through radiologic imaging.
We conducted an electronic retrospective chart review of 43,200 patient charts using 4 distinct search strategies and cost analysis, all from a single academic institution from 2001 through 2009. Charts were reviewed for use of radiological imaging studies to identify patients with suspected and confirmed epidural hematomas. Costs for imaging to exclude or confirm the diagnosis were related to the entire cohort.
In our analysis, over a 9-year period that included 43,200 epidural catheterizations, 102 patients (1:430) underwent further imaging studies to exclude or confirm the presence of an epidural hematoma—revealing 6 confirmed cases and an overall incidence (per 10,000 epidural blocks) of epidural hematoma of 1.38 (95% CI 0, 0.002). Among our patients, 207 imaging studies, primarily lumbar spine MRI, were performed. Integrating Medicare cost expenditure data, the estimated additional cost over a 9-year period for imaging and hospital charges related to identifying epidural hematomas nets to approximately $232,000 or an additional $5.37 per epidural.
About 1 in 430 epidural catheterization patients will be suspected to have an epidural hematoma. The cost of excluding the diagnosis, when suspected, is relatively low when allocated across all epidural catheterization patients.
Epidural intracranial hematoma is one of the most common complications of surgeries for intracranial tumors. The non-regional epidural hematoma is related to severe fluctuation of the intracranial pressure during the operation. The traditional management of hematoma evacuation through craniotomy is time-consuming and may aggravate intracranial pressure imbalance, which causes further complications. We designed a method using vaccum epidural drainage system, and tried to evaluate advantage and the disadvantage of this new technique.
Seven patients of intracranial tumors were selected. All of the patients received tumor resection and intra-operative non-regional epidural hematoma was confirmed through intra-operative ultrasound or CT scan. The vaccum drainage system was applied. Another ten patients who received craniotomy for intra-operative non-regional epidural hematoma evacuation were selected as comparison. Regular tests, like serial CT scan, were performed afterward to evaluate the effectiveness and to help deciding when to remove the drainage system.
The vaccum drainage method was effective in epidual hemotoma clearance and prevented recurrent epidural hemorrhage. The drainage systems were removed within 4 days. All of the patients recovered well. No complications related to the drainage system were observed.
Compared to the traditional craniotomy, the new method of epidural hemoatoma management using vaccum epidural drainage system proved to be as effective in hematoma clearance, and was less-invasive and easier to perform, with less complication, shorter hospitalization, less economic burden, and better prognosis.
Intracranial tumor; Operation-related epidural hematoma; Non-regional epidural hematoma; Epidural drainage; Vaccum drainage system
To retrospectively review anesthesia and intensive care management of 145 consented volunteers subjected to right lobe or left hepatectomy between 2003 and 2011.
After local ethics committee approval, anesthetic and intensive care charts, blood transfusion requirements, laboratory data, complications and outcome of donors were analyzed.
One hundred and forty-three volunteers successfully tolerated the surgery with no blood transfusion requirements, but with a morbidity rate of (50.1%). The most frequent complication was infection (21.1%) (intraabdominal collections), followed by biliary leak (18.2%). Two donors had major complications: one had portal vein thrombosis (PVT) treated with vascular stent. This patient recovered fully. The other donor had serious intraoperative bleeding and developed postoperative PVT and liver and renal failure. He died after 12 days despite intensive treatment. He was later reported among a series of fatalities from other centers worldwide. Epidural analgesia was delivered safely (n=90) with no epidural hematoma despite significantly elevated prothrombin time (PT) and international normalization ratio (INR) postoperatively, reaching the maximum on Day 1 (16.9±2.5 s and 1.4±0.2, P<0.05 when compared with baseline). Hypophosphatemia and hypomagnesemia were frequently encountered. Total Mg and phosphorus blood levels declined significantly to 1.05±0.18 mg/dL on Day 1 and 2.3±0.83 mg/dL on Day 3 postoperatively.
Coagulation and electrolytes need to be monitored perioperatively and replaced adequately. PT and INR monitoring postoperatively is still necessary for best timing of epidural catheter removal. Live donor hepatectomy could be performed without blood transfusion. Bile leak and associated infection of abdominal collections requires further effort to better identify biliary leaks and modify the surgical closure of the bile ducts. Donor hepatectomy is definitely not a complication-free procedure; reported complication risks should be available to the volunteers during consenting.
Donor hepatectomy; Egypt; living donor liver transplantation; perioperative experience
We report a series of epidural hematomas which cause neurologic deterioration after spinal surgery, and have taken risk factors and prognostic factors into consideration. We retrospectively reviewed the database of 3720 cases of spine operation in a single institute over 7 years (1998 April-2005 July). Nine patients who demonstrated neurologic deterioration after surgery and required surgical decompression were identified. Factors postulated to increase the postoperative epidural hematoma and to improve neurologic outcome were investigated. The incidence of postoperative epidural hematoma was 0.24%. Operation sites were cervical 3 cases, thoracic 2 cases, and lumbar 4 cases. Their original diagnoses were tumor 3 cases, cervical stenosis 2 cases, lumbar stenosis 3 cases and herniated lumbar disc 1case. The symptoms of epidural hematomas were neurologic deterioration and pain. After decompression, clinical outcome revealed complete recovery in 3 cases (33.3%), incomplete recovery in 5 cases (55.6%) and no change in 1 case (11.1%). Factors increasing the risk of postoperative epidural hematoma were coagulopathy from medical illness or anticoagulation therapy (4 cases, 44.4%) and highly vascularized tumor (3 cases, 33.3%). The time interval to evacuation of complete recovery group (29.3 hours) was shorter than incomplete recovery group (66.3 hours). Patients with coagulopathy and highly vascularized tumor were more vulnerable to spinal epidural hematoma. The postoperative outcome was related to the preoperative neurological deficit and the time interval to the decompression.
Clinical outcome; risk factor; postoperative; spinal epidural hematoma; spine surgery
Complications after lumbar anaesthesia and epidural blood patch have been described in patients with congenital small spinal canal and increased epidural fat or epidural lipomatosis. These conditions, whether occurring separately or in combination, require magnetic resonance imaging for diagnosis and grading, but their clinical significance is still unclear.
A 35-year-old Caucasian woman who was undergoing a Caesarean section developed a longstanding L4-L5 unilateral neuropathy after the administration of spinal anaesthesia. There were several attempts to correctly position the needle, one of which resulted in paraesthesia. A magnetic resonance image revealed that the patient's bony spinal canal was congenitally small and had excess epidural fat. The cross-sectional area of the dural sac was then reduced, which left practically no free cerebrospinal fluid space.
The combination of epidural lipomatosis of varying degrees and congenital small spinal canal has not been previously discussed with spinal anaesthesia. Due to the low cerebrospinal fluid content of the small dural sac, the cauda equina becomes a firm system with a very limited possibility for the nerve roots to move away from the puncture needle when it is inserted into the dural sac. This constitutes risks of technical difficulties and neuropathies with spinal anaesthesia.
Thrombolytic therapy directed to the achievement of early reperfusion in cases with acute ST elevation myocardial infarction can have significant complications which can be due to bleeding or in the form of allergic reactions. Sometimes these complications can cause mortality or significant and incapacitating morbidity which may at times surpass the risk possessed by the disease itself.
We are reporting an interesting case of 63-year-old male, who presented to us with acute anterior wall myocardial infarction and developed acute onset paralysis following intravenous administration of streptokinase and heparin. MRI spine revealed spinal epidural hematoma. Patient was advised urgent surgical evacuation of hematoma, but opted for conservative management. Patient had significant residual neurological deficits at follow-up. In conclusion, spinal epidural hematoma is a rare complication following thrombolysis for acute ST elevation myocardial infarction. Though rare, high index of suspicion is required by physicians, as prompt treatment may lead to complete recovery, which otherwise can lead to debilitating neurological sequel.
LV aneurysm; Spinal epidural haematoma; Thrombolysis; STEMI; Morbidity
Management guidelines for single intracranial hematomas have been established, but the optimal management of multiple hematomas has little known. We present bilateral traumatic supratentorial hematomas that each has enough volume to be evacuated and discuss how to operate effectively it in a single anesthesia.
In total, 203 patients underwent evacuation and/or decompressive craniectomies for acute intracranial hematomas over 5 years. Among them, only eight cases (3.9%) underwent operations for bilateral intracranial hematomas in a single session. Injury mechanism, initial Glasgow Coma Scale score, types of intracranial lesions, surgical methods, and Glasgow outcome scale were evaluated.
The most common injury mechanism was a fall (four cases). The types of intracranial lesions were epidural hematoma (EDH)/intracerebral hematoma (ICH) in five, EDH/EDH in one, EDH/subdural hematoma (SDH) in one, and ICH/SDH in one. All cases except one had an EDH. The EDH was addressed first in all cases. Then, the evacuation of the ICH was performed through a small craniotomy or burr hole. All patients except one survived.
Bilateral intracranial hematomas that should be removed in a single-session operation are rare. Epidural hematomas almost always occur in these cases and should be removed first to prevent the hematoma from growing during the surgery. Then, the other hematoma, contralateral to the EDH, can be evacuated with a small craniotomy.
Intracranial hemorrhages; Epidural hematoma; Craniotomy; Multiple lesions
The purpose of this study was to report a case with post-traumatic spinal epidural hematomas with abnormal neurologic findings, which is uncommon. A 40-year-old man presented at our clinic after a blunt trauma caused by a traffic accident in which he was a pedestrian. After admission, abnormal neurologic symptoms developed including loss of sensation and motor function in his left lower extremity. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a spinal epidural hematoma with 40% canal stenosis at the L5-S1 level. Decompression including hematoma evacuation was done. Symptoms started to be reduced 18 days after operation. He was treated conservatively with medications and all symptoms resolved completely during admission and there were no further neurologic sequelae. Post-traumatic lumbar spinal epidural hematoma with abnormal neurologic findings is an uncommon condition that may present belatedly after trauma with significant neurologic compromise.
Lumbar spine; Epidural hematoma; Neurology
Retrospective study on the results of microendoscopic decompression surgery for the treatment of cervical myelopathy. The purpose of this study was to describe the microendoscopic laminoplasty (MEL) technique as the surgical method in the treatment of cervical myelopathy, and to document the clinical outcomes for MEL surgery. Endoscopic surgery poses several challenges for the aspiring endoscopic surgeons, the most critical of which is mastering hand–eye coordination. With training in live animal and cadaver surgery, the technical progress has reduced the problem of morbidity following surgery. The authors have performed microendoscopic decompression surgery on more than 2,000 patients for lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Fifty-one patients underwent the posterior decompression surgery using microendoscopy for cervical myelopathy at authors’ institute. The average age was 62.9 years. The criteria for exclusion were cervical myelopathy with tumor, trauma, severe ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament, rheumatoid arthritis, pyogenic spondylitises, destructive spondylo-arthropathies, and other combined spinal lesions. The items evaluated were neurological evaluation, recovery rates; these were calculated following examination using the Hirabayashi’s method with the criteria proposed by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scoring system (JOA score). The mean follow-up period was 20.3 months. The average of JOA score was 10.1 points at the initial examination and 13.6 points at the final follow-up. The average recovery rate was 52.5%. The recovery rate according to surgical levels was, respectively, 56.5% in one level, 46.3% in two levels and 54.1% in more than three levels. The complications were as follows: one patient sustained a pin-hole-like dura mater injury inflicted by a high-speed air-drill during surgery, one patient developed an epidural hematoma 3 days after surgery, and two patients had the C5 nerve root palsy after surgery. The epidural hematoma was removed by the microendoscopy. All two C5 palsy improved with conservative therapy, such as a neck collar. These four patients on complications have returned to work at the final follow-up. This observation suggests that the clinical outcomes of microendoscopic surgery for cervical myelopathy were excellent or showed good results. This minimally invasive technique would be helpful in choosing a surgical method for cervical myelopathy.
Cervical spine; Clinical outcome; Endoscopic surgery; Laminoplasty; Myelopathy
We report three cases of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) with hemiparesis. The first patient was a 73-year-old woman who presented with left hemiparesis, neck pain, and left shoulder pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a left posterolateral epidural hematoma at the C3–C6 level. The condition of the patient improved after laminectomy and evacuation of the epidural hematoma. The second patient was a 62-year-old man who presented with right hemiparesis and neck pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a right posterolateral dominant epidural hematoma at the C6-T1 level. The condition of the patient improved after laminectomy and evacuation of the epidural hematoma. The third patient was a 60-year-old woman who presented with left hemiparesis and neck pain. A cervical MRI scan revealed a left posterolateral epidural hematoma at the C2–C4 level. The condition of the patient improved with conservative treatment. The classical clinical presentation of SSEH is acute onset of severe irradiating back pain followed by progression to paralysis, whereas SSEH with hemiparesis is less common. Our cases suggest that acute cervical spinal epidural hematoma should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with clinical symptoms of sudden neck pain and radicular pain with progression to hemiparesis.
Although different techniques have been developed for administering combined spinal epidural (CSE) anaesthesia, none can be described as an ideal one.
We performed a study to compare two popular CSE techniques: Double segment technique (DST) and single segment (needle through needle) technique (SST) with another alternative technique: Paramedian epidural and midline spinal in the same intervertebral space (single space dual needle technique: SDT).
After institutional ethical clearance, 90 consenting patients undergoing elective lower limb orthopaedic surgery were allocated to receive CSE into one of the three groups (n=30 each): Group I: SST, Group II: SDT, Group III: DST using computerized randomization. The time for technique performance, surgical readiness, technical aspects of epidural and subarachnoid block (SAB) and morbidity were compared.
SDT is comparable with SST and DST in time for technique performance (13.42±2.848 min, 12.18±6.092 min, 11.63±3.243 min respectively; P=0.268), time to surgical readiness (18.28±3.624 min, 17.64±5.877 min, 16.87±3.137 min respectively; P=0.42) and incidence of technically perfect block (70%, 66.66%, 76.66%; respectively P=0.757). Use of paramedian route for epidural catheterization in SDT group decreases complications and facilitates catheter insertion. There was a significant number of cases with lack of dural puncture appreciation (SST=ten, none in SDT and DST; P=0.001) and delayed cerebrospinal fluid reflux (SST=five, none in SDT and DST; P=0.005) while performance of SAB in SST group. The incidence of nausea, vomiting, post-operative backache and headache was comparable between the three groups.
SDT is an acceptable alternative to DST and SST.
Combined spinal epidural; double segment; needle through needle; paramedian
Epidural anaesthesia is used extensively for cardiothoracic and vascular surgery in some centres, but not in others, with argument over the safety of the technique in patients who are usually extensively anticoagulated before, during, and after surgery. The principle concern is bleeding in the epidural space, leading to transient or persistent neurological problems.
We performed an extensive systematic review to find published cohorts of use of epidural catheters during vascular, cardiac, and thoracic surgery, using electronic searching, hand searching, and reference lists of retrieved articles.
Twelve studies included 14,105 patients, of whom 5,026 (36%) had vascular surgery, 4,971 (35%) cardiac surgery, and 4,108 (29%) thoracic surgery. There were no cases of epidural haematoma, giving maximum risks following epidural anaesthesia in cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery of 1 in 1,700, 1 in 1,400 and 1 in 1,700 respectively. In all these surgery types combined the maximum expected rate would be 1 in 4,700. In all these patients combined there were eight cases of transient neurological injury, a rate of 1 in 1,700 (95% confidence interval 1 in 3,300 to 1 in 850). There were no cases of persistent neurological injury (maximum expected rate 1 in 4,600).
These estimates for cardiothoracic epidural anaesthesia should be the worst case. Limitations are inadequate denominators for different types of surgery in anticoagulated cardiothoracic or vascular patients more at risk of bleeding.
Accidental or inadvertent dural puncture during epidural anaesthesia results in high incidence of post dural puncture headache (PDPH). Spinal or intrathecal catheter in such a situation, provides a conduit for administration of appropriate local anaesthetic for rapid onset of intraoperative surgical anaesthesia and postoperative pain relief. This procedure prevents PDPH if catheter left in situ for > 24 hrs and also avoids the associated risks with a repeat attempts at epidural analgesia.
Primary aim of this study was to observe the effect of spinal catheter on incidence of PDPH, and to assess early and delayed complications of spinal catheterization by epidural catheter.
In prospective clinical study 34 patients who had accidental dural puncture during epidural anaesthesia were included. The catheter meant for epidural use was inserted in spinal space and used for spinal anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia. Catheter was removed between 24-36hrs after surgery.
The incidence of accidental dural puncture was 4%(34/846). Two patients 5.88% (2/34) had transient paresthesia during spinal catheter insertion. Post dural puncture headache occurred in 11.76% (4/34) patients. Two patients required epidural blood patch and two patients were managed with conservative treatment. No patient had any serious intraoperative or postoperative side effects.
Epidural catheter can be used as spinal catheter to manage accidental dural puncture without serious complications, and it also prevents PDPH.
Epidural anaesthesia; Accidental dural puncture; Post dural puncture headache (PDPH); Intrathecal catheter
Pain in terminal cancer patients may be refractory to systemic analgesics or associated with adverse drug reactions to analgesics. Epidural analgesia has been effectively used in such patients for pain control. However, this method does not provide pain relief to all patients. The efficacy and complications of continuous epidural analgesia were evaluated for expanding efficacy in terminal cancer patients.
Materials and Methods
The charts of patients who received epidural analgesia for over 5 years for the control of terminal cancer pain were reviewed retrospectively.
Ninety-six patients received 127 epidural catheters. The mean duration for epidural catheterization was 31.5±55.6 (5-509) days. The dose of epidural morphine increased by 3.5% per day. The efficacy of epidural analgesia at 2 weeks follow up revealed improved pain control (n=56), as the morphine equivalent drug dose dropped from 213.4 mg/day to 94.1 mg/day (p<0.05) at 2 weeks follow up. Accordingly, after 2 weeks institution of epidural analgesia, there was a significant reduction in the proportion of patients with severe pain, from 78.1% to 19.6% (p<0.05).
Epidural analgesia was an effective pain control method in patients with terminal cancer pain, however, a systematized algorithm
for the control of cancer-related pain in needed.
Bupivacaine; cancer pain; epidural analgesia; morphine
Symptomatic arachnoiditis after posterior fossa surgical procedures such as decompression of Chiari malformation is a possible complication. Clinical presentation is generally insidious and delayed by months or years. It causes disturbances in the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid and enlargement of a syrinx cavity in the upper spinal cord. Surgical de-tethering has favorable results with progressive collapse of the syrinx and relief of the associated symptoms.
A 30-year-old male with Chiari malformation type I was treated by performing posterior fossa bone decompression, dura opening and closure with a suturable bovine pericardium dural graft. Postoperative period was uneventful until the fifth day in which the patient suffered intense headache and progressive loose of consciousness caused by an acute posterior fossa epidural hematoma. It was quickly removed with complete clinical recovering. One year later, the patient experienced progressive worsened of his symptoms. Upper spinal cord tethering was diagnosed and a new surgery for debridement was required.
The epidural hematoma compressing the dural graft against the neural structures contributes to the upper spinal cord tethering and represents a nondescribed cause of postoperative fibrosis, adhesion formation, and subsequent recurrent hindbrain compression.
Arachnoiditis; arnold-chiary malformation; dural graft; posterior fossa; tethering
We report a patient who developed paraplegia caused by a spinal epidural hematoma after removal of an epidural catheter, which resolved spontaneously. A 60-year-old woman underwent thoracoscopic partial resection of the left lung under general anesthesia combined with epidural anesthesia. She neither was coagulopathic nor had received anticoagulants. Paraplegia occurred 40 minutes after removal of the epidural catheter on the first postoperative day. Magnetic resonance images revealed a spinal epidural hematoma. Surgery was not required as the paraplegia gradually improved until, within 1 hour, it had completely resolved. Hypoesthesia had completely resolved by the third postoperative day.