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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094

Abstract

SIMONI, Ricardo Francisco et al. Autonomic hyperreflexia in tetraplegic pregnant patient: case report. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2003, vol.53, n.4, pp. 481-488. ISSN 0034-7094.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942003000400007.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Complications of pregnant patients with medullary injury include urinary infection, renal stones, anemia, decubitus ulcers, muscle spasms, sepsis, uterine hyperactivity and autonomic hyperreflexia. Autonomic hyperreflexia is the most severe anesthetic complication and should, before all, be prevented. It is often developed in patients with medullary transection at the level of the 5th to 7th thoracic vertebra or above. This report aims at presenting a case of tetraplegic pregnant patient with injury at the level of the 6th cervical vertebra, submitted to Cesarean section under continuous epidural anesthesia with 0.25% bupivacaine without vasoconstrictor associated to fentanyl. CASE REPORT: Caucasian, tetraplegic primiparous term patient, 39 weeks of gestational age, 22 years old, 63 kg, 168 cm, physical status ASA II, admitted for elective Cesarean section. Patient reported spinomedullary trauma at C6, three years ago. After previous hydration with 1500 ml saline, epidural anesthesia was induced with medial puncture at L3-L4 interspace with the patient in the lateral position, disposable 17G Tuohy needle and without previous local infiltration anesthesia. Immediately after needle insertion, there was adjacent paravertebral muscles contraction, blood pressure increase (BP = 158 x 72 mmHg) and heart rate increase (HR = 90 bpm). Patient, however, did not refer pain. Needle was removed and local anesthesia was induced. Epidural block proceeded with 20 ml of 0.25% bupivacaine without vasoconstrictor associated to 100 µg spinal fentanyl and epidural catheter insertion in the cephalad direction (3 to 4 cm). Surgery went on without intercurrences with no need for blockade complementation. There were two arterial hypotension episodes in the first 24 postoperative hours, which were treated with lactated Ringer’s solution. Epidural catheter was maintained for 48 hours. Patient was discharged three days after. CONCLUSIONS: For paraplegic or tetraplegic pregnant patients, continuous epidural anesthesia with low local anesthetic concentration without vasoconstrictor and associated to fentanyl is a good indication for instrumented or not vaginal delivery, and Cesarean sections to prevent autonomic hyperreflexia. It is also important that the epidural catheter remains for at least 24 hours after delivery to block sympathetic afference in case a crisis is triggered.

Keywords : ANESTHETIC TECHNIQUES [Regional]; ANESTHETIC TECHNIQUES [continuous epidural]; DISEASE, [Neurological]; DISEASE, [tetraplegic]; SURGERY [Obstetric]; SURGERY [Cesarean section].

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