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Anesthesiol Clin North Am. 2000 Jun;18(2):461-85.

Complications of spinal and epidural anesthesia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


In conclusion, major complications after neuraxial techniques are rare but can be devastating to the patient and the anesthesiologist. Prevention and management begin during the preoperative visit with a careful evaluation of the patient's medical history and appropriate preoperative discussion of the risks and benefits of the available anesthetic techniques. Alternative anesthetic techniques, such as peripheral regional techniques or general anesthesia, should be considered for patients at increased risk for neurologic complications following neuraxial block. The decision to perform a regional anesthetic technique on an anesthetized patient must be made with care, as these patients are unable to report pain on needle placement or injection of local anesthetic. Efforts should also be made to decrease neural injury in the operating room through careful patient positioning. Postoperatively, patients must be followed closely to detect potentially treatable sources of neurologic injury, including expanding spinal hematoma or epidural abscess, constrictive dressings, improperly applied casts, and increased pressure on neurologically vulnerable sites. New neurologic deficits should be evaluated promptly by a neurologist, or neurosurgeon, to document formally the patient's evolving neurologic status, arrange further testing or intervention, and provide long-term follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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