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Continuous Spinal Anesthesia after Unintentional Dural Puncture in Parturients
  1. Mark C. Norris, M.D. and
  2. Barbara L. Leighton, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, Jefferson Medical College. Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Headache after unintentional dural puncture with 17-or 18-gauge needles represents a significant source of anesthetic-induced maternal morbidity. We performed this study to determine whether inserting a catheter into the subarachnoid space after dural puncture can significantly alter the incidence of headache. Thirty-five women, requesting labor analgesia, suffered a dural puncture during attempts to identify the epidural space using an 18-gauge Hustead needle (bevel oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis of the back). Subsequently, the anesthesiologist inserted a 20-gauge polyamide catheter into the CSF and provided continuous spinal anesthesia throughout labor and delivery. A second group of 21 women suffered dural puncture with the same epidural technique but without subarachnoid catheter insertion. These women subsequently received lumbar epidural anesthesia. After delivery, we visited all women daily until discharge and questioned them about the presence and severity of headache. Neither the incidence of headache nor the need for therapeutic blood patch differed significantly between the two groups of women. No other anesthetic related complications ensued. Continuous spinal anesthesia after unintentional dural puncture does not decrease the incidence of headache in parturients.

  • Anesthesia
  • obstetric
  • continuous spinal
  • complications
  • dural puncture

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