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Med Arch. 2012;66(5):340-3.

Benefits, risks and complications of perioperative use of epidural anesthesia.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, "Dedinje" Cardiovascular Institute, Belgrade, Serbia.


Use of thoracic epidurals is widespread for intraoperative and postoperative analgesia. Thoracic epidural anaesthesia (TEA) reduces sympathetic activity and thereby influences perioperative function of vital organ systems. A results of recent studies suggest that TEA decreases postoperative morbidity and mortality. There is better pain control with TEA in a wide range of surgical procedures. Use of TEA is associated with the risk of harm, but also the other methods used to control perioperative pain and stress response carry specific risks. Timely diagnosis and treatment of spinal compression or infection are crucial to ensure patient safety with TEA. The benefits of TEA outweigh the risks with respect to the perioperative outcome and organ protection, if basic guidelines are followed.

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