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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2015 Sep;59(8):1032-7. doi: 10.1111/aas.12545. Epub 2015 May 4.

Incidence of severe local anaesthetic toxicity and adoption of lipid rescue in Finnish anaesthesia departments in 2011-2013.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Anaesthesiology, Orthopaedic Hospital Orton, Invalid Foundation, Helsinki, Finland.



Although the incidence of severe local anaesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST) has been declining, the risk of LAST still remains. There are no national treatment guidelines for LAST in Finland. We performed a national survey of the occurrence of LAST and its treatment in 2011-2013.


A structured electronic questionnaire was sent to the anaesthesia department chiefs of all Finnish public hospitals (n = 45) in spring 2014. We collected information about the occurrence and outcome of LASTs and existence of treatment protocols.


The questionnaire response rate was 100% covering approximately 95% of all regional anaesthesias managed by anaesthesiologists in Finnish hospitals. The total number of regional anaesthesias, excluding spinal anaesthesia, performed by anaesthesiologists was approximately 211,700 during the survey period. Fifteen cases of LAST were reported (0.7 : 10,000); all patients recovered without negative sequelae. Fourteen patients, in five of whom ultrasound guidance had been applied, developed central nervous system toxicity symptoms and only one cardiac symptoms. Lipid emulsion was given to this latter patient, and to four of the other 14. The relative risk (95% confidence intervals) for occurrence of LAST in non-academic hospital vs. university hospitals was 3.3 (1.0-10.3; P = 0.04). Treatment protocols for LAST included lipid emulsion in 47% of the departments.


The incidence of LAST in Finland is very low. Several departments have adopted lipid emulsion treatment for LAST despite lack of national recommendations and knowledge of the possible mechanism of action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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