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Trigeminal Nerve Block as a Complication of Epidural Anesthesia
  1. Rodrigo R. Gazmuri, M.D.*,
  2. Claudio A. Ricke, M.D.* and
  3. Jorge A. Dagnino, M.D.**
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, Catholic University of Chile Medical School, Santiago, Chile.
  2. *Resident.
  3. **Associate Professor.
  1. Address correspondence to Rodrigo R. Gazmuri, M.D., Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Medicina, Departamento de Anestesiologia, PO Box 114-D, Santiago, Chile.


Background and Methods. A healthy pregnant woman underwent labor under successful epidural analgesia with a total drug mass of 100 mg plain bupivacaine plus 100 μg fentanyl in three doses given over 150 minutes.

Results. Ninety minutes after the last dose, she developed signs and symptoms of a left trigeminal nerve block along with an ipsilateral Horner's syndrome. The cutaneous anesthesia level reached C6 on the left and T6 on the right side. Neurologic symptoms disappeared four hours later.

Conclusion. An excessive upward epidural extension of bupivacaine block, reaching the trigeminal spinal nucleus and/or tract in the cervical spinal cord, is postulated.

  • Obstetric anesthesia
  • anesthetic technique
  • epidural
  • complications
  • trigeminal nerve block.

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