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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 247-252

Does unilateral hip flexion increase the spinal anaesthetic level during combined spinal-epidural technique?

Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Medha Mohta
28-B, Pocket-C, SFS Flats, Mayur Vihar Phase III, Delhi - 110 096
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.82668

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Needle-through-needle combined spinal-epidural (CSE) may cause significant delay in patient positioning resulting in settling down of spinal anaesthetic and unacceptably low block level. Bilateral hip flexion has been shown to extend the spinal block by flattening lumbar lordosis. However, patients with lower limb fractures cannot flex their injured limb. This study was conducted to find out if unilateral hip flexion could extend the level of spinal anaesthesia following a prolonged CSE technique. Fifty American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I/II males with unilateral femur fracture were randomly allocated to Control or Flexion groups. Needle-through-needle CSE was performed in the sitting position at L2-3 interspace and 2.6 ml 0.5% hyperbaric bupivacaine injected intrathecally. Patients were made supine 4 min after the spinal injection or later if epidural placement took longer. The Control group patients (n=25) lay supine with legs straight, whereas the Flexion group patients (n=25) had their uninjured hip and knee flexed for 5 min. Levels of sensory and motor blocks and time to epidural drug requirement were recorded. There was no significant difference in sensory levels at different time-points; maximum sensory and motor blocks; times to achieve maximum blocks; and time to epidural drug requirement in two groups. However, four patients in the Control group in contrast to none in the Flexion group required epidural drug before start of surgery. Moreover, in the Control group four patients took longer than 30 min to achieve maximum sensory block. To conclude, unilateral hip flexion did not extend the spinal anaesthetic level; however, further studies are required to explore the potential benefits of this technique.

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