It Is Not Always the Epidural: A Case Report of Anterior Spinal Artery Ischemia in a Trauma Patient

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Motor vehicle collisions impact millions of people annually resulting in multiinjury trauma. Anesthesiologists are consulted for rib fracture analgesia to improve respiratory mechanics and prevent intubation. This report describes a trauma patient who developed hypotension and lower extremity weakness after epidural placement for multiple rib fractures. Initially, hypotension was attributed to neuraxial sympathectomy. However, physical examination also indicated anterior spinal artery ischemia. Regional anesthesia and acute pain teams must be able to both identify contraindications and complications of regional techniques and discern when complications are not a result of regional interventions to initiate prompt management and definitive care.

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