Inadvertent Cervical Epidural Catheter Placement via the Caudal Route Using Electrical Stimulation

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Abstract

Inadvertent placement of an epidural catheter in the cervical region via the caudal route is described in an infant who underwent revision of a fundoplication. We attempted electrical stimulation (the Tsui test) via the epidural catheter to confirm correct placement and positioning of the catheter tip. In this case, the epidural catheter was inadvertently advanced to the cervical region, resulting in stimulation of the phrenic nerve. These diaphragmatic twitches were misinterpreted as chest wall twitches, and it was incorrectly assumed that the catheter was in the thoracic region. To avoid misinterpretation of the stimulation level, the catheter should be continuously stimulated while it is advanced. We also recommend that the catheter length be estimated before insertion (although doing so did not help in this case) and that the catheter position be radiographically confirmed after surgery.

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