Spinal haematoma after removal of a thoracic epidural catheter in a patient with coagulopathy resulting from unexpected vitamin K deficiency

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Abstract

Postoperative epidural analgesia is effective and widely utilised after major abdominal surgery. Spinal haematoma is a rare and devastating complication after epidural analgesia. Well-established risk factors for the development of spinal haematoma after neuraxial procedures have been documented. We present the case of a patient with normal pre-operative coagulation parameters who developed a spinal haematoma more than 24 h after removal of an epidural catheter; she had been without oral intake for only 4 days during which time she developed vitamin K-deficient coagulopathy. Clinicians should consider pre-operative screening of coagulation (International Normalised Ratio), or giving vitamin K supplementation, before performing neuraxial procedures in patients who are at risk of developing vitamin K deficiency or coagulopathy in the peri-operative period.

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