Auditory function after spinal anaesthesia: the effect of differently designed spinal needles

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Background and objectiveRecurrent, bilateral or unilateral, persistent or transient, mild or profound hearing loss has been reported after spinal anaesthesia. We studied the effects of the needle type (Quincke, ballpen, pencil-point spinal needles) on hearing loss after spinal anaesthesia with the use of pure-tone audiometry.MethodsForty-five ASA physical status I patients scheduled for elective inguinal herniorraphy with spinal anaesthesia were enrolled in the study. The patients were randomly divided into three groups. Group Q (n = 15) patients received spinal anaesthesia through a 25-gauge (G) Quincke spinal needle, group B (n = 15) patients received the same through a 25-G ballpen spinal needle and those in group P (n = 15) received the same through a 25-G pencil-point spinal needle. Patients were interviewed about postoperative complaints such as postdural puncture headache, vertigo, nausea–vomiting, transient neurological symptoms and major neurological deficits. Pure-tone audiometry was performed by an audiologist at specific time intervals.ResultsThe number of patients who had greater than 10 dB hearing loss in group Q was significantly more than that found in group B and group P at 250, 500, 4000 and 6000 Hz on postoperative day 1. When group B and group P were compared for change in hearing, no statistically significant difference was detected at any frequency tested.ConclusionBecause the use of ballpen and pencil-point needles reduces hearing loss after spinal anaesthesia, these needles are preferred.

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