Complications and interventions associated with epidural analgesia for postoperative pain relief in a tertiary care hospital.

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Introduction: Epidural analgesia is one of the commonly used methods of postoperative pain control despite its associated complications. Early recognition and intervention is required to minimize the effect of these complications. Present audit was conducted to find out the incidence of complications and type of interventions required to change the outcome. MethodOLOGY: The record of all the Patients who had epidural catheter placed for postoperative pain management reviewed from the departmental acute pain management register. Parameters included level of insertion, drugs used, number of days infusion continued and complications like nausea, vomiting, motor block, sedation, dural tap, catheter pull out, hypotension and itching. In addition, the intervention done to manage these complications was also recorded. Results: Total 1706 entries of epidurals were recorded in study period 2001 to 2007. The overall incidence of the complication was 26.6%. The common complications were motor block (13.4%), dural tap (1.2%), ineffective pain control (2.4%), accidental catheter pull outs (3.8%) and problems associated with the delivery system of drug (1.7%). The 12% of Patients required intervention for the particular complications. The regime was discontinued in 28%, drug concentration changed in 21.5% while the other modes of pain management were used in 19% of Patients. 0.9% of Patients required epidural blood patch while 2% of Patients required catheterization for urinary retention. Conclusion: This audit shows the importance of regular assessment and early intervention to manage epidural related complications in improving outcome.


Middle East Journal of Anesthesiology