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Acute neck cellulitis and mediastinitis complicating a continuous interscalene block


Capdevila, X; Jaber, S; Pesonen, P; Borgeat, A; Eledjam, J J (2008). Acute neck cellulitis and mediastinitis complicating a continuous interscalene block. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 107(4):1419-1421.

Abstract

We report a case of acute neck cellulitis and mediastinitis complicating a continuous interscalene brachial plexus block. A 61-yr-old man was scheduled for an elective arthroscopic right shoulder rotator cuff repair. A continuous interscalene block was done preoperatively and 20 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine and 20 mL of 2% mepivacaine were injected through the catheter. Postoperative analgesia was provided by a continuous infusion of bupivacaine, 0.25% at 5 mL/h for 39 h using a 240-mL elastomeric disposable pump. The day after surgery, the patient complained of neck pain. The analgesic block was not fully effective. He was discharged home. Three days later, the patient was readmitted with neck edema and erythema, fever and fatigue. Neck ultrasonography and computed tomographic scan revealed an abscess of the interscalene and sternocleidomastiod muscles and cellulitis, as well as acute mediastinitis. Two blood cultures and surgical samples were positive for Staphylococcus aureus. The infection was treated with surgery, the site was surgically debrided, and a 2-mo course of vancomycin, imipenem, and oxacilline. The technique of drawing local anesthetic from the bottle and filling the elastomeric pump was the most likely cause of infection. This case emphasizes the importance of strict aseptic conditions during puncture, catheter insertion, and management of the local anesthetic infusate.

We report a case of acute neck cellulitis and mediastinitis complicating a continuous interscalene brachial plexus block. A 61-yr-old man was scheduled for an elective arthroscopic right shoulder rotator cuff repair. A continuous interscalene block was done preoperatively and 20 mL of 0.5% bupivacaine and 20 mL of 2% mepivacaine were injected through the catheter. Postoperative analgesia was provided by a continuous infusion of bupivacaine, 0.25% at 5 mL/h for 39 h using a 240-mL elastomeric disposable pump. The day after surgery, the patient complained of neck pain. The analgesic block was not fully effective. He was discharged home. Three days later, the patient was readmitted with neck edema and erythema, fever and fatigue. Neck ultrasonography and computed tomographic scan revealed an abscess of the interscalene and sternocleidomastiod muscles and cellulitis, as well as acute mediastinitis. Two blood cultures and surgical samples were positive for Staphylococcus aureus. The infection was treated with surgery, the site was surgically debrided, and a 2-mo course of vancomycin, imipenem, and oxacilline. The technique of drawing local anesthetic from the bottle and filling the elastomeric pump was the most likely cause of infection. This case emphasizes the importance of strict aseptic conditions during puncture, catheter insertion, and management of the local anesthetic infusate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2008
Deposited On:12 Feb 2009 17:03
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:59
Publisher:Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins
ISSN:0003-2999
Additional Information:Comment in: Anesth Analg. 2008 Oct;107(4):1095-7.
Publisher DOI:10.1213/ane.0b013e318161537f
PubMed ID:18806062
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-13167

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