Author(s): Lvstad RZ, Granhus G, Hetland S
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Abstract Sudden, severe bradycardia/asystolic cardiac arrest are considered infrequent, but are certainly the most serious complications of spinal anaesthesia. We report four cases of primary asystole and one of severe bradycardia in young to middle-aged, healthy patients scheduled for minor surgery at the day surgery unit. Bradycardia/asystole were not related to respiratory depression or hypoxaemia/hypercarbia; they occurred at different time intervals after the onset of spinal anaesthesia (10-70 min) and, apparently, were not dependent on the level of sensory block, which varied between T3 and T8. One patient was nauseated seconds before the asystole, otherwise there was no warning signs. All the patients were easily resuscitated with the prompt administration of atropine and ephedrine and, in the case of cardiac arrest, cardiac massage and ventilation with oxygen. One patient was treated with a small dose of adrenaline. Four patients had the surgery, as planned; one had the surgery postponed. All the patients were discharged from hospital in good health and did not suffer any sequelae.
This article was published in Acta Anaesthesiol Scand
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research