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Lower Lobe Collapse During Continuous Interscalene Brachial Plexus Local Anesthesia at Home
  1. Anand M Sardesai, F.R.C.A.,
  2. Anil J. Chakrabarti, F.R.C.S.G., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.S. (Orth) and
  3. Nicholas M. Denny, F.R.C.A.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesia, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, United Kingdom
  2. Department of Orthopedics, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, United Kingdom
  1. Reprint requests: Anand M. Sardesai, F.R.C.A., Clinical Fellow in Regional Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesia, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gayton Rd, King's Lynn PE30 4ET, UK United Kingdom. E-mail: Sardesai1{at}


Objectives: We report a case of pulmonary left lower lobe collapse following an interscalene local anesthetic infusion administered at home. This case highlights the need for patient education and postoperative communication.

Case Report: A 52-year-old male patient presented for a rotator cuff repair. He was a chronic tobacco abuser with a history of occasional chest pain of unexplained cause. An interscalene catheter was placed preoperatively and surgery was performed under a combination of an interscalene block and a general anesthetic. An infusion of 0.2% ropivacaine was started via the interscalene catheter postoperatively and continued at home following his discharge from the hospital on the third postoperative day. Within 24 hours of discharge, he was readmitted to the hospital after complaining of chest pain and dyspnea. The patient was seen in the emergency department by nonanesthesiologists who were not familiar with the potential for interscalene blocks to cause diaphragmatic paresis.

Conclusions: Good communication must be maintained with the patient at all times. Doctors from other specialties may be unaware of the potential complications of an interscalene block.

  • Continuous interscalene block
  • Local anesthetic infusion

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  • Supported by Abbots Laboratories Limited, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.