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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 764  

"No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into sub-arachnoid space"

Department of Anaesthesia, Tata Motors Hospital, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India

Date of Web Publication20-Nov-2015

Correspondence Address:
Ashok Jadon
Department of Anaesthesia, Tata Motors Hospital, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.170049

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How to cite this article:
Jadon A. "No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into sub-arachnoid space". Indian J Anaesth 2015;59:764

How to cite this URL:
Jadon A. "No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into sub-arachnoid space". Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Aug 3];59:764. Available from: https://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2015/59/11/764/170049


Read with interest the article 'No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into sub-arachnoid space'. [1] I have few observations regarding this article and need further clarifications before believing that catheter could migrate through such a small opening in the sub-arachnoid space.

First, 26-gauge 1½ inch (3.81 cm) long needle was used for infiltration of local anaesthesia and understandably, the needle must have been introduced up to the junction of the shaft with the hub as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was aspirated due to puncture of the dura. However, when epidural space was located, it was found at the depth of 4 cm, marginally more than the sub-arachnoid depth. How it can be explained? Considering some thickness for dura (0.5 mm) and a few mm of epidural space, the distance to be covered by the needle to meet the sub-arachnoid space should have been a little more than 4 cm.

Second, if authors could confirm the returning fluid to be CSF (temperature and sugar analysis) from the epidural catheter, they could as well have done the same for the returning fluid from the needle used for infiltrating local anaesthetic. The injected saline returning into the catheter or needle might easily mislead us to believe it to be CSF. Often, the local anaesthetic that is injected into soft tissues flows back into the needle under pressure. I believe, this was the case in this episode also. Authors have not mentioned what medium was used to ascertain loss of resistance technique, whether air or saline. Further, since the epidural needle was inserted up to 4.0 cm, it seems more probable that the epidural needle created a large rent in the dura, leaving the arachnoid membrane intact and catheter must have penetrated arachnoid membrane with ease before entering into sub-arachnoid space. [2],[3],[4],[5]

Dura mater is thin posteriorly and relatively thicker on its anterior aspect; this fact predisposes to dural puncture by epidural catheters with a pointed tip. In this report, CSF flow was seen when the catheter was inserted up to 14 cm and, therefore, another possibility is that catheter tip might have perforated the dura and catheter entered in the sub-arachnoid space. [6]

I believe entry of epidural catheter through opening made by the 26-gauge needle is solely based on a presumption as it is not confirmed by any investigation. I hope authors may be able to answer the raised queries to justify their claim.

   References Top

Tandon M, Pandey CK. No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into sub-arachnoid space. Indian J Anaesth 2015;59:133-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Davies RG, Laxton CJ, Donald FA. Unrecognised dural punctures. Int J Obstet Anesth 2003;12:142-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Cohen S, Casciano M, Bhausar V. Unrecognised dural punctures - Revisited. Int J Obstet Anesth 2004;13:57-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Costigan SN, Sprigge JS. Dural puncture: The patients' perspective. A patient survey of cases at a DGH maternity unit 1983-1993. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 1996;40:710-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sprigge JS, Harper SJ. Accidental dural puncture and post dural puncture headache in obstetric anaesthesia: Presentation and management: A 23-year survey in a district general hospital. Anaesthesia 2008;63:36-43.  Back to cited text no. 5
Koshy TA, Vijayadevi S, Gopalkrishna K. Some hitherto unappreciated/unknown facts on the anatomy of epidural space. Indian J Anaesth 2001;45:181.  Back to cited text no. 6

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1 In response to comments on: No rent is small for migration of epidural catheter into subarachnoid space
Manish Tandon,ChandraKant Pandey
Indian Journal of Anaesthesia. 2015; 59(11): 765
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