• Vol. 31 No. 4, 525–527
  • 15 July 2002

Subdural Block—From a Spinal? A Case Report



Introduction: Multicompartmental blocks are commonly described in epidurals but not spinals. We describe a case of subarachnoid block performed in an obese patient which resulted in a clinical presentation resembling that of a subdural block.

Clinical picture: A 29-year-old woman, scheduled for saucerisation of thigh carbuncle, was administered 2.1mL of hyperbaric bupivacaine. The spinal resulted in a late onset of sensory block that extended to the neck and upper limbs. There was no sympathetic or motor blockade.

Treatment/Outcome: The block receded spontaneously without causing any cardiovascular or respiratory compromise.

Conclusions: The diagnosis of subdural block must be considered in patients with unusual presentations after a spinal anaesthetic. Factors affecting spread of hyperbaric bupivacaine are also highlighted.

There have been multiple reports of accidental subdural blocks published in the last 20 years. Majority of these have been the result of an epidural gone astray, and the lowest reported volume of local anaesthetic used was 3.5 mL.

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