Rapid Onset of Massive Subdural Anesthesia

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Abstract

Objective

This case report describes the accidental placement of a lumbar labor epidural catheter into the subdural space resulting in the rapid onset of massive subdural anesthesia.

Case Report

A single-orifice open-ended catheter was accidentally placed in the lumbar subdural space. After a test dose of 3 mL 1.5% lidocaine with 15 μg of epinephrine and 2 minutes after a bolus of 5 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine, there was a rapid onset of massive subdural anesthesia with a loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest, and absent pulses. The subdural catheter placement was confirmed by injection of a contrast agent under fluoroscopy.

Conclusion

Massive subdural anesthesia is a complication of epidural catheter placement and may have a rapid onset causing a loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest, and absent pulses.

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