Local Anesthetic Systemic Toxicity

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Local anesthetics are commonly used in the perioperative environment to facilitate surgical procedures or to provide postoperative pain management for patients. The use of local anesthetics, however, introduces the risk of complications resulting from local anesthetic systemic toxicity and the risks of increased morbidity and mortality for the surgical patient. Systemic toxicity from the injection or overdose of local anesthetics is a rare but potentially fatal complication that occurs in less than 1 in 1,000 patients. This article provides the perioperative nurse with information about local anesthetics, the signs and symptoms of local anesthetic systemic toxicity, and the information needed to manage a patient experiencing this complication.

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