Lipid Rescue in a Pediatric Burn Patient

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Abstract

Pain control is a major concern for patients suffering burns. The addition of bupivacaine to the donor site infiltration solution containing epinephrine could offer a safe and effective means to treat postanesthesia pain. Despite the addition of epinephrine to localize the effects, systemic absorption occurs, and there exists the possibility of inadvertent intravascular injection, with potential CNS and cardiac toxicity. The patient is a 6-year-old boy who sustained flame burns to bilateral lower extremities and buttocks. A Pitkin’s solution containing 2 mg epinephrine/L of normosol and a 0.5% bupivacaine at 3 mg/kg was injected. Shortly after the patient became bradycardic with decreasing end tidal CO2. Pediatric advanced life support protocol was begun. He underwent 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. At this time, intralipid therapy was initiated with a 1.5 mg/kg bolus. Shortly after therapy, a pulse was regained. It had been previously demonstrated that the addition of bupivacaine to a subcutaneous infiltrating solution for donor site harvesting was a safe and effective treatment of pain for skin graft harvesting. Care must be taken to stay within the therapeutic allotted dose. Inadvertent intravascular injection is a rare complication. Early recognition of clinical signs of local anesthetic toxicity is a key to the management and treatment. A lipid protocol should be in place, given the many positive case reports of local anesthetic toxicity. Surgeon judgment must be used when weighing the risks and benefits of pain control during skin harvesting vs the potential cardiac effects with local anesthetics.

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