Epidural hematoma following epidural catheter placement in a patient with chronic renal failure

Mafdy Basta, Paul Sloan

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27 Scopus citations


Purpose: We report a case of epidural hematoma in a surgical patient with chronic renal failure who received an epidural catheter for postoperative analgesia. Symptoms of epidural hematoma occurred about 60 hr after epidural catheter placement. Clinical features: A 58-yr-old woman with a history of chronic renal failure was admitted for elective abdominal cancer surgery. Preoperative laboratory values revealed anemia, hematocrit 26%, and normal platelet, PT and PTT values. General anesthesia was administered for surgery, along with epidural catheter placement for postoperative analgesia. Following uneventful surgery, the patient completed an uneventful postoperative course for 48 hr. Then, the onset of severe low back pain, accompanied by motor and sensory deficits in the lower extremities, alerted the anesthesia team to the development of an epidural hematoma extending from T12 to L2 with spinal cord compression. Emergency decompressive laminectomy resulted in recovery of moderate neurologic function. Conclusions: We report the first case of epidural hematoma formation in a surgical patient with chronic renal failure (CRF) and epidural postoperative analgesia. The only risk factor for the development of epidural hematoma was a history of CRF. High-risk patients should be monitored closely for early signs of cord compression such as severe back pain, motor or sensory deficits. An opioid or opioid/local anesthetic epidural solution, rather than local anesthetic infusion alone, may allow continuous monitoring of neurological function and be a prudent choice in high-risk patients. If spinal hematoma is suspected, immediate MRI or CT scan should be done and decompressive laminectomy performed without delay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-274
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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