- J A Aldrete.
- University of South Florida, Tampa, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2003 Jan 1;47(1):3-12.
AbstractOf late, regional anesthesia has enjoyed unprecedented popularity; this increase in cases has brought a higher frequency of instances of neurological deficit and arachnoiditis that may appear as transient nerve root irritation, cauda equina, and conus medullaris syndromes, and later as radiculitis, clumped nerve roots, fibrosis, scarring dural sac deformities, pachymeningitis, pseudomeningocele, and syringomyelia, etc., all associated with arachnoiditis. Arachnoiditis may be caused by infections, myelograms (mostly from oil-based dyes), blood in the intrathecal space, neuroirritant, neurotoxic and/or neurolytic substances, surgical interventions in the spine, intrathecal corticosteroids, and trauma. Regarding regional anesthesia in the neuroaxis, arachnoiditis has resulted from epidural abscesses, traumatic punctures (blood), local anesthetics, detergents, antiseptics or other substances unintentionally injected into the spinal canal. Direct trauma to nerve roots or the spinal cord may be manifested as paraesthesia that has not been considered an injurious event; however, it usually implies dural penetration, as there are no nerve roots in the epidural space posteriorly. Sudden severe headache while or shortly after an epidural block using the loss of resistance to air approach usually suggests pneumocephalus from an intradural injection of air. Burning severe pain in the lower back and lower extremities, dysesthesia and numbness not following the usual dermatome distribution, along with bladder, bowel and/or sexual dysfunction, are the most common symptoms of direct trauma to the spinal cord. Such patients should be subjected to a neurological examination followed by an MRI of the effected area. Further spinal procedures are best avoided and the prompt administration of IV corticosteroids and NSAIDs need to be considered in the hope of preventing the inflammatory response from evolving into the proliferative phase of arachnoiditis.
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