Author(s): Goy RW, Sia AT
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The extent of the intrathecal compartment depends on the balance between cerebrospinal fluid and subatmospheric epidural pressure. Epidural insertion disrupts this relationship, and the full impact of loss-of-resistance on the qualities of subarachnoid block is unknown. In this study we sought to determine if subarachnoid block, induced by combined spinal-epidural (CSE) using loss-of-resistance to air could render higher sensory anesthesia than single-shot spinal (SSS) when an identical mass of intrathecal anesthetic was injected. Sixty patients, scheduled for minor gynecological procedures, were randomly allocated into three groups all receiving 10 mg of 0.5\% hyperbaric bupivacaine. In the SSS group, intrathecal administration was through a 27-gauge Whitacre spinal needle inserted at the L3-4 level. For the CSE group, the epidural space was identified with an 18-gauge Tuohy needle using loss-of-resistance to 4 mL of air. After intrathecal administration, a 20-gauge catheter was left in the epidural space. No further drug or saline was administered through the catheter. The procedure was repeated in group CSE ((no-catheter)) except without insertion of a catheter. Sensorimotor anesthesia was assessed at regular 2.5-min intervals until T10 was reached. In all aspects, there was no difference between CSE and CSE ((no-catheter)). Peak sensory level in SSS was lower than CSE and CSE ((no-catheter)) (median T5 [max T3-min T6] versus (T3 [T1-4] and (T3 [T2-5]) (P < 0.01). During the first 10 min postblock, dermatomal thoracic block was the lowest in SSS (P < 0.05). Time for regression of sensory level to T10 was also shortest in SSS. Hypotension, ephedrine use and period of motor recovery were more pronounced in CSE and CSE ((no-catheter)). We conclude that subarachnoid block induced by CSE produces greater sensorimotor anesthesia and prolonged recovery compared with SSS. There is also a more frequent incidence of hypotension and vasoconstrictor use despite using identical doses and baricity of local anesthetic. IMPLICATIONS: This study confirms that induction of subarachnoid block by a combined-spinal epidural technique produces a greater sensorimotor anesthesia and results in prolonged recovery when compared with a single-shot spinal technique. There is a more frequent incidence of hypotension and vasoconstrictor administration despite identical doses of intrathecally administered local anesthetic.
This article was published in Anesth Analg
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research