Bupivacaine-induced myotoxicity during a continuous perineural femoral block: case report
Introduction: Regional anesthesia is widely used for postoperative analgesia in total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Although it is a safe and effective procedure, serious complications may still develop. In the event of an unusual or torpid evolution, the possibility of local anesthetic-induced myotoxicity should be suspected.
Case presentation: A 54-year old patient, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) II, underwent TKA due to primary gonarthrosis. The analgesic technique used was a femoral nerve block associated with continuous perineural infusion. 24hours later, the patient’s medical condition deteriorated presenting pain, edema, and functional limitation of the thigh of the operated extremity. The symptoms were suggestive of myotoxicity, confirmed with diagnostic images leading to the removal of the catheter. The patient experienced then a significant improvement and was discharged 5 days after surgery.
Conclusion: The diagnosis of myotoxicity from local anesthetics is rare, since its manifestations may be masked by the usual symptoms of the postoperative period. Early identification of the condition is fundamental to reduce its negative impact on the patient’s recovery and satisfaction. Since the scope of the damage depends particularly on the concentration and duration of the exposure to the local anesthetic agent, there is a need to implement protocols that enable an effective block with the lowest concentration and volume of the medication.
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