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World J Orthop. 2014 Apr 18;5(2):100-6. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i2.100. eCollection 2014.

Perioperative visual loss after spine surgery.

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1
Travis J Nickels, Mariel R Manlapaz, Ehab Farag, Department of General Anesthesia, Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinc, Cleveland, OH 44195, United States.

Abstract

Perioperative visual loss (POVL) is an uncommon, but devastating complication that remains primarily associated with spine and cardiac surgery. The incidence and mechanisms of visual loss after surgery remain difficult to determine. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists Postoperative Visual Loss Registry, the most common causes of POVL in spine procedures are the two different forms of ischemic optic neuropathy: anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and posterior ischemic optic neuropathy, accounting for 89% of the cases. Retinal ischemia, cortical blindness, and posterior reversible encephalopathy are also observed, but in a small minority of cases. A recent multicenter case control study has identified risk factors associated with ischemic optic neuropathy for patients undergoing prone spinal fusion surgery. These include obesity, male sex, Wilson frame use, longer anesthetic duration, greater estimated blood loss, and decreased percent colloid administration. These risk factors are thought to contribute to the elevation of venous pressure and interstitial edema, resulting in damage to the optic nerve by compression of the vessels that feed the optic nerve, venous infarction or direct mechanical compression. This review will expand on these findings as well as the recently updated American Society of Anesthesiologists practice advisory on POVL. There are no effective treatment options for POVL and the diagnosis is often irreversible, so efforts must focus on prevention and risk factor modification. The role of crystalloids versus colloids and the use of α-2 agonists to decrease intraocular pressure during prone spine surgery will also be discussed as a potential preventative strategy.

KEYWORDS:

Central retinal artery occlusion; Cortical blindness; Ischemic optic neuropathy; Perioperative visual loss; Posterior reversible encephalopathy; Prone positioning; Spine surgery

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