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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7094On-line version ISSN 1806-907X


MAGALHAES, Edno; GOVEIA, Cátia Sousa; LADEIRA, Luís Cláudio de Araújo  and  QUEIROZ, Laura Elisa Sócio de. Hematoma after epidural anesthesia: conservative treatment. Case report. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2007, vol.57, n.2, pp.182-187. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Hematoma associated with spinal compression after epidural anesthesia is a severe neurological complication, despite the reduced incidence reported (1:150,000). It is an acute episode and the traditional treatment includes urgent surgical decompression. More recently, treatment with corticosteroids has been used as an alternative, in specific cases, with good neurological resolution. The objective of this report was to present the case of an epidural hematoma treated conservatively with complete neurological recovery. CASE REPORT: Female patient, 34 years old, ASA physical status I, with no prior history of bleeding disorders or anticlotting treatment, underwent epidural anesthesia at the L2-L3 level for the surgical treatment of lower limb varicose veins. Eight hours after the regional anesthesia, the patient still presented complete motor blockade (Bromage scale), reduction of thermal and pain sensitivity below L3, hyperalgesia in the left plantar region, preserved tendon reflexes, and absence of lumbar pain. A CT scan showed an epidural hematoma in L2, with compression of the dural sac. Ten hours after the epidural puncture, there was no regression of neurological signs and symptoms. It was decided, then, to treat the patient with a continuous infusion of methylprednisolone (5.3 in the first hour and 1.4 in the following 23 hours). Eight hours after the beginning of the treatment, the patient recovered thermal and pain sensitivity and presented total regression of the motor blockade. On the 12th hour, she was walking and complained of pain in the surgical wound. The epidural hematoma was not visualized in a CT scan done 14 hours after the beginning of the treatment. The patient was discharged 86 hours after the beginning of the treatment without neurological deficits. A CT scan done after 7 months showed a completely normal spinal canal. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of the conservative approach demonstrated that it is an important alternative to surgery in specific cases. The evaluation of the progression or stabilization of the neurological deficit, especially 8 hours after the epidural puncture, is essential in choosing the treatment.

Keywords : COMPLICATIONS [spinal cord compression, epidural hematoma]; ANESTHETIC TECHNIQUES, Regional [epidural].

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