Article Text

Download PDFPDF

EP114 Horner’s syndrome: a rare complication in a common technique
  1. Ana Franco1,
  2. Roberto Ameiro2,
  3. Nuno Lareiro1 and
  4. Ana Martins2
  1. 1Department of Anesthesiology, Centro Hospitalar do Baixo Vouga, Aveiro, Portugal
  2. 2Department of Anesthesiology, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal


Background and Aims Horner’s syndrome is characterized by miosis, partial ptosis, anhidrosis and apparent enophthalmos. After epidural analgesia, it is the result of the stellar ganglion blockade, suggesting a high level (C8–T4) of anaesthetic effects.

Methods We report a full-term parturient submitted to labor analgesia under epidural technique. We administered ropivacaine and sufentanil, which produced a relatively symmetric sensitive block at T6/T7. Fifteen minutes later we noticed the patient developed Horner syndrome. Upon detection of the symptoms, a dilemma arose on whether to keep the catheter, which was resolved through discussions with the patient. Together we decided to keep it in place for the following boluses. Two additional fractioned boluses were administered. The patient maintained an adequate sensitive block at T6/T7, had no additional neurological findings and kept hemodynamic stability throughout the entire period. The condition was reversed completely three hours later with no additional interventions.

Results Horner’s syndrome is associated with epidural anesthesia and pregnancy: due to reduced epidural volume from uterine pressure and increased local anesthetic sensitivity. Symptoms tend to be mild, but cardiorespiratory arrest is a possible complication due to high sympathetic block and close vigilance should occur. In this case, the decision to administer further boluses was based on the cardiorespiratory stability, the relatively mild presentation and the patient’s understanding of the situation.

Conclusions This case highlights the importance of careful technique and vigilant monitoring during epidural analgesia, as well as the necessity of considering patient comfort and autonomy in the decision-making process.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.