A surgically placed epidural catheter in a patient with spinal trauma

Douglas D. Seal, Rock G. Loken, R. John Hurlbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report the successful perioperative anaesthetic and analgesic management of a spinal trauma patient with a surgically placed epidural catheter. Clinical features: A 15-yr-old adolescent woman sustained an unstable spinal column injury with an incomplete neurological deficit following a high speed motor vehicle accident. She was scheduled for spinal decompression and stabilisation through a left thoracoabdominal approach. Balanced general anaesthesia was undertaken. Prior to closure, a multi-orifice epidural catheter was surgically placed under direct vision 5 cm into the anterior epidural space. The catheter was then tunnelled out through the psoas muscle and secured in place. Combined epidural-general anaesthesia was then initiated for the duration of the case using 5 ml bupivacaine 0.25% after an initial test dose of 3 ml lidocaine 1.5% with epinephrine. An infusion of bupivacaine 0.10% and fentanyl 5 μg · ml-1 at 8 ml · hr-1 using patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) provided excellent postoperative pain control for four days. She had an uncomplicated postoperative course. Conclusion: A surgically placed epidural catheter provided excellent, safe, perioperative anaesthesia and analgesia in this patient with unstable spinal trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-174
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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