Korean J Pain 1995; 8(1): 156-158

Published online April 1, 1995

Copyright © The Korean Pain Society.

A Total Spinal Anesthesia Developed during an Induction of an Epidural Block: A case report

Jung Goo Park, Jae Kyu Cheun

Department of Anesthesiology, Keimyung University, School of Medicine, Taegu, Korea.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Total spinal anesthesia is a well documented serious life threatening complication which results from an attempted spinal or epidural analgesia. We had an accidental total spinal anesthesia associated with a cranial nerve paralysis and an eventual unconsciousness during epidural analgesia. A 45-year-old female with an uterine myoma was scheduled for a total abdominal hysterectomy under the epidural analgesia. A lumbar tapping for the epidural analgesia was performed in a sitting position at a level between L3-4, using a 18 gauge Tuohy needle. Using the Loss of Resistance" technique to identify the epidural space, the first attempt failed; however, the second attempt with the same level and the technique was successful. The epidural space was identified erroneously. However, fluid was dripping very slowly through the needle, which we thought was the fluid from the normal saline which was injected from the outside to identify the space. Then 20 ml of 2% lidocaine was administered into the epidural space. Shortly after the spinal injection of lidocaine, many signs of total spinal anesthesia could be clearly observed, accompanied by the following progressing signs of intracrainal nerve paralysis: phrenic nerve, vagus nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve and trigeminal nerve in that order. Then female was intubated and her respiration was controlled without delay. The scheduled operation was carried out uneventfully for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The patient recovered gradually in the reverse order four hours from that time.

Keywords: Epidural anesthesia, Complication, Total spinal anesthesia