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Anesthesia for Cesarean Delivery in Patients with Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 Infections
  1. Angela M. Bader, M.D.,
  2. William R. Camann, M.D. and
  3. Sanjay Datta, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts


Some concerns exist regarding the use of regional anesthesia for patients with active genital herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV) infections undergoing cesarean delivery. Previous studies have reported the safe use of epidural anesthesia in these patients; there are no reports of the use of spinal anesthesia in this setting. We performed a 6-year retrospective survey of 169 patients delivered by cesarean delivery because of HSV infection. One hundred sixty-four of these patients had the diagnosis of secondary infection and five had the diagnosis of primary infection. Fifty-nine patients received general anesthesia, 75 received spinal anesthesia, and 35 received epidural anesthesia. One patient who was diagnosed with primary herpes and who received spinal anesthesia had a transient postpartum neurologic deficit; the etiology of this deficit was not clearly related to the anesthetic technique. No patients with secondary infection had septic or neurologic complications related to the anesthetic. Both spinal and epidural anesthesia appear to be safe alternatives for patients with secondary HSV infections undergoing cesarean delivery.

  • Anesthesia
  • epidural
  • spinal
  • obstetric
  • herpes simplex virus type-2

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