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Anesthesiology. 1999 Feb;90(2):445-50.

Dilution of spinal lidocaine does not alter the incidence of transient neurologic symptoms.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98111, USA.



Although it has been suggested that the dilution of 5% hyperbaric lidocaine before injection for spinal anesthesia may decrease the incidence of transient neurologic symptoms, previous studies have not noted a decreased incidence between 5% and 2% lidocaine. The aim of the current study was to determine whether the incidence of transient neurologic symptoms could be altered by further diluting spinal lidocaine from 2.0% to 0.5%.


One hundred nine patients with American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1 or 2 undergoing outpatient knee arthroscopy were randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive 50 mg hyperbaric spinal lidocaine as a 2.0%, 1.0%, or 0.5% concentration. On the third postoperative day, patients were contacted by a blinded investigator and questioned regarding the incidence of postoperative complications, including transient neurologic symptoms, defined as pain or dysthesia in one or both buttocks or legs occurring within 24 h of surgery.


The incidence of transient neurologic symptoms did not differ among patients receiving 2.0% (incidence of 15.8%), 1.0% (incidence of 22.2%), and 0.5% (incidence of 17.1%) lidocaine (P = 0.756).


For ambulatory patients undergoing arthroscopy, the incidence of transient neurologic symptoms is not reduced by decreasing spinal lidocaine concentrations from 2.0% to 1.0% or 0.5%. The incidences of transient neurologic symptoms with the 0.5%, 1.0%, and 2.0% solutions are similar to previously reported incidences for 5.0% lidocaine, suggesting that dilution of lidocaine from 5.0% to 0.5% does not change the incidence of these symptoms.

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