|Year : 2008 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 331-333
Spinal Myoclonus Following Bupivacainc Spinal Anaesthesia for Varicose Vein Stripping
Binita Panigrahi1, DP Samaddar2, BC Mahapalra3, Koshy Varghese4
1 Registrar, Department of Anaesthesiology, Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur-831001, India
2 Senior Specialist & HOD, Department of Anaesthesiology, Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur-831001, India
3 Senior Specialist, Department of Anaesthesiology, Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur-831001, India
4 Senior Registrar, Department of Anaesthesiology, Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur-831001, India
|Date of Acceptance||15-Mar-2008|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Mar-2010|
D2/10, Road No 6, Sangam Vihar, Sonari, Jamshedpur-831011
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Myoclonic movements under anaesthesia are a less recognized phenomenon. We report here a case of 24-year old man who underwent varicose vein stripping and ligation procedure under spinal anaesthesia and developed spinal myoclonus.The movements gradually decreased in frequency and finally disappeared on the third postoperative day. The case warrants awareness about its occurrence, and anaesthetists must watch out for and recognize it.
Keywords: Myoclonus, Spinal myoclonus, Spinal anaesthesia
|How to cite this article:|
Panigrahi B, Samaddar D P, Mahapalra B C, Varghese K. Spinal Myoclonus Following Bupivacainc Spinal Anaesthesia for Varicose Vein Stripping. Indian J Anaesth 2008;52:331-3
|How to cite this URL:|
Panigrahi B, Samaddar D P, Mahapalra B C, Varghese K. Spinal Myoclonus Following Bupivacainc Spinal Anaesthesia for Varicose Vein Stripping. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2008 [cited 2020 Jul 7];52:331-3. Available from: http://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2008/52/3/331/60645
| Introduction|| |
Involuntary, rhythmic or dysrhythmic movements characterized by rapid contractions in the extremities, developing as a result of the stimulation of medulla spinalis by several ways is called spinal myoclonus  . The most frequent causes are spinal cord compression, tumours, vascular myelopathy, infections, demyelinating diseases, paraneoplastic syndromes, and trauma to the spinal cord. Drugs given through intrathecal and epidural routes can also induce it , .Although spinal myoclonus has been reported under bupivacaine spinal anaesthesia for varicose vein stripping  and also in caesarean delivery ,, yet, bupivacaine has not been implicated to cause it. Certain antibiotics, eg the cephalosporins  , sulphonamides  , and imipenem  have been reported to be associated with myoclonus. Despite these reports incident still remains a lesser-known entity, and hence, is likely to be branded as a direct complication of the anaesthetic technique. We report a case of spinal myoclonus that was encountered under bupivacaine spinal anaesthesia.
| Case report|| |
A 24-year male was referred to the pre-anaesthesia clinic for fitness for stripping and ligation of bilateral varicose veins with sapheno-femoral and adductor incompetence of both sides. Pre-anaesthetic checkup (PAC) revealed no history of any systemic disease. He had, however, a history of on and off headache with giddiness that was self-limiting and not restricting his normal lifestyle. There was no history of syncope, palpitation, chest pain or seizure disorder; he had a good effort tolerance. On referral to cardiologist to rule out organic cardiac disease, an echocardiography revealed moderate aortic regurgitation with an ejection fraction of 57.46% and LV dilatation; ECG showed left ventricular hypertrophy. He was started on tablet losartan 25 mg once a day. His biochemical parameters were within normal limits. He was cleared for surgery with ASA physical status grade II risk.
Diazepam (10 mg oral) premedication was given on night before and day of surgery. Antibiotic prophylaxis against infective endocarditis was given 30 minutes before surgery. After recording his baseline readings, unilateral subarachnoid block was given with 2ml of 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine in the right lateral position. He was made supine after 10 minutes, whereupon the motor blockade was Bromage score 3 in the right lower limb, and 1 on the left side; sensory blockade was up to dermatome T8. Surgery was started on the right limb; patient remained haemodynamically stable barring an episode of bradycardia responding to atropine 0.6mg. Surgery lasted 72 minutes. While dressing was being done, patient developed sudden myoclonic jerks in the lower half of the body starting from umbilicus downwards. There were paroxysmal rhythmic thrusting movements of the pelvis and jerky movements of the legs that recurred every 1-2 minute, persisting for 40-50 seconds. His mental functions were intact and muscle power was normal in all the four limbs. Midazolam 1 mg administered intravenously did not relieve the movements. An arterial sample was sent for blood gas analysis showed normal electrolytes and calcium (Na+ 141 mmol.L -1 ; K+ 3.56 mmol.L -1 ; iCa+ 0.895 mmol.L -1 ). Patient was kept in the PACU with oxygen inhalation. His haemodynamic parameters and consciousness level were unaffected. He was shifted to post operative ward where physician started him on oral phenytoin 100mg thrice daily. The frequency of seizures gradually came down over the next two days; being observed only during the awake state. On the second postoperative day EEG was done that ruled out an epileptic disorder. By the third post operative day seizures had disappeared totally, and he was discharged with advice for follow up. Subsequent follow up revealed no recurrence of the seizure.
The surgeon recalled a similar episode during surgery on the other leg a week back. The anaesthesiologist then, had administered general anaesthesia, and attributed it to a waning effect of muscle relaxant, hence did not document it in the case notes. There was no recurrence.
| Discussion|| |
Myoclonus is defined as sudden brief shock-like involuntary movements due to contraction of a group of muscle fibres, triggered by an event within the central nervous system. Its origin may be cortical, subcortical or spinal. Spinal myoclonus may be segmental or propiospinal. Fridreich in 1881 suggested the spinal origin of myoclonus; Lhermitte in 1919 established it. Myoclonus is usually a positive phenomenon causing synchronized muscle contractions in single or multiple muscle groups. Negative myoclonus consists of sudden and brief loss of muscle tone associated with loss of electromyogram (EMG) activity  .
It occurs due to deficient inhibitory gycinergic transmission in the spinal cord. Usually spinal myoclonus is not associated with pathological lesions, but vacuolar degeneration and chromatolysis of the anterior horn cells has been found  . In many cases treatment is not necessary. Drugs like clonazepam, sodium valproate, piracetam, levetiracetam, tetrabenazine, botulinum toxin, primidone and fluoxetine are effective.
The episodic rhythmic nature of the movements in our patient was diagnostic of myoclonus. The frequency of attack, occurrence only during the waking hours, normal EEG, and absence of neurological deficit pointed towards the diagnosis of spinal myoclonus. However, unlike in the report by Celik and colleagues 2, we could not attribute it only to spinal anaesthesia since it had occurred under general anaesthesia also (though it was not given importance for it was only one episode). The difference in our case was the long time it took for the movements to subside. Whether it was a response to phenytoin or a natural course of the incident is yet to be answered, since phenytoin is not the drug of choice in this condition. The rarity of incidence in our experience probably made diagnosis difficult. There is no evidence in literature to say that these patients are prone to have it again under anaesthesia. Is spinal anaesthesia the cause of this myoclonus? Should this person again require surgery can spinal anaesthesia be re-administered? Is general anaesthesia the answer to spinal myoclonus? These are the questions that anaesthesiologist should keep in mind while encountering such situations. More awareness regarding this event is needed, since there is possibility of the anaesthesiologist being blamed of a faulty technique.
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