Continuous spinal anesthesia for lower limb surgery: a retrospective analysis of 1212 cases
Eberhard Albert Lux
Klinik für Schmerz und Palliativmedizin, Klinikum St Marien Hospital GmbH, Lünen, Germany
Background: Continuous spinal anesthesia is a very reliable and versatile technique for providing effective anesthesia and analgesia. However, the incidence of possible complications, including postdural puncture headache or neurological impairment, remains controversial. Therefore, the aim of the present retrospective study was to analyze a large number of patients for the incidence of adverse events after continuous spinal anesthesia with a microcatheter.
Methods: This retrospective study was conducted on 1212 patients who underwent surgery of the lower extremities with continuous spinal anesthesia, which was administered with 22-gauge Quincke spinal needles and 28-gauge microcatheters. Sociodemographic and clinical data were available from the patient records, and data on headaches and patient satisfaction were drawn from a brief postoperative patient questionnaire.
Results: The patient population included 825 females (68%) and 387 males; the median age was 61 (56–76). The types of operations performed were 843 hip prostheses, 264 knee prostheses, and 105 other leg operations. No major complications were observed in any of these patients. Tension headaches were experienced by 190 (15.7%) patients, but postdural puncture headaches were reported by only 18 (1.5%) patients. Nearly all patients (98.4%) were satisfied with continuous spinal anesthesia and confirmed that they would choose this kind of anesthesia again.
Conclusion: Based on the findings of this large data analysis, continuous spinal anesthesia using a 28-gauge microcatheter appears to be a safe and appropriate anesthetic technique in lower leg surgery for aged patients.
Keywords: continuous spinal anesthesia, microcatheter, complications, postdural puncture headache
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