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Not everything that can be done should be done

Authors Slagt C

Received 12 December 2015

Accepted for publication 15 December 2015

Published 24 February 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 13—15


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Editor who approved publication: Dr Stefan Wirz

Cor Slagt

Radboud University Medical Center, Department Anaesthesia, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

After reading the article, “Thoracic combined spinal epidural anesthesia for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a geriatric patient with ischemic heart disease and renal insufficiency” by Mehta et al,1 I have the following considerations. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed under spinal anesthesia in healthy patients.2 Perioperative hemodynamic instability (59%) and discomfort (43%) were noticed in this group of 49 patients. From the gastroenterology literature, we know that a combination of lumbar spinal and thoracic epidural anesthesia can be used as a monotherapy for high-risk patients undergoing gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery.3 Perioperative hemodynamics and discomfort were not observed in 12 patients. Is this a stress-free environment? Preventing general anesthesia should not be a goal on its own. From an oxygen delivery-consumption point of view, general anesthesia reduces oxygen consumption and can promote oxygen delivery, theoretically preventing organ failure, especially in high-risk surgical patients with diseases that involve multiple organs.4 Our body has protected the delicate spinal cord by the vertebral column. Damaging the spinal cord during anesthesia, for instance, during epidural procedures, is one of the greatest fears of our patients and anesthesiologists.5,6 New techniques should be thoroughly tested on healthy patients before they are used on high-risk surgical patients. A combined thoracic spinal epidural anesthesia is, in the light of the above, an undesirable technique, especially combined with pneumoperitoneum when hemodynamic and respiratory homeostasis and patient comfort can be compromised. Although there is the possibility to place a thoracic combined spinal epidural anesthesia, I strongly like to emphasize that especially in the view of patient safety, this procedure is undesirable. A thoracic epidural combined with general anesthesia is in the most cases (if not all cases) a safe alternative.

View original paper by Mehta and colleagues.

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