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Long-term Brachial Plexus Anesthesia Using a Subcutaneous Implantable Injection System: Case Report
  1. J. L. Aguilar, M.D., Ph.D., D.E.A.A.,
  2. V. Domingo, M.D.,
  3. D. Samper, M.D.,
  4. G. Roca, M.D. and
  5. F. Vidal, M.D.
  1. Department of Anesthesia, Pain Clinic, Hospital Universitario “Germans Trias i Pujol,” Barcelona, Spain
  1. Reprint requests: J. L. Aguilar, M.D., Ph.D., D.E.A.A., Department of Anesthesia, Pain Clinic, Hospital Universitario “Germans Trias i Pujol,” Apartado de Correos 72, 08916 Badalona, Barcelona, Spain.


Background and Objectives. Continuous brachial plexus anesthesia with local anesthesia has been used since 1946 for prolonged surgical procedures, in postoperative pain relief, and in sympathetic nerve block. The benefit or effectiveness of this technique in the relief of sympathetically maintained pain has yet to be established.

Methods. The following case report describes the placement of an axillary catheter connected to a port for the self-administration of local anesthesia to provide brachial plexus anesthesia in a 43-year-old woman suffering from sympathetically maintained pain.

Results. The administration of local anesthesia through this injection system resulted in complete pain relief without motor impairment of the arm. The device functioned for 118 days, making physical therapy easier. An infection occurred at the entry site, requiring the removal of the port.

Conclusions. Controlled studies need to be done to establish the safety and efficacy of this form of therapy.

  • local anesthesia
  • continuous anesthesia
  • brachial plexus block
  • sympathetically maintained pain

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  • Supported in part by a grant from Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias (FIS # 94/0642).