Complications and liability related to regional and neuraxial anesthesia

Henry Liu, Morgan Brown, Lu Sun, Shukan P. Patel, Jinlei Li, Elyse M. Cornett, Richard D. Urman, Charles J. Fox, Alan David Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Regional anesthesia is responsible for approximately one-fifth of professional liability claims. The present investigation evaluated common and rare complications related to regional and neuraxial anesthesia, including postdural puncture headache, backache, transient neurological symptoms, inadvertent intrathecal injection, epidural hematoma and abscess, meningitis, arachnoiditis, postoperative urinary retention, local anesthetic systemic toxicity, and cardiac arrest. Regional anesthetic techniques are increasingly used in perioperative care of surgical patients for acute pain management and for chronic pain states. This manuscript also provides an overview and analysis of the existing literature and makes some recommendations in terms of strategies to prevent or minimize the potential patient injury, with a focus on those more commonly associated with patient injury and liability exposure. The role of ultrasound in preventing patient injury during regional anesthesia is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-497
Number of pages11
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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