The database study reported a low overall complication rate, and no serious complications, in a very large series of caudal nerve blocks. "However, there are reasons to be cautious about interpretation of the data," according to the editorial by Drs Karen R. Boretsky and James A. DiNardo of Boston Children's Hospital.
Study Isn't the Last Word on Caudal Nerve Block in Children
In caudal block, a small dose of local anesthetic is injected into the base of the spine to numb feeling in the lower body. It is usually added to general anesthesia in infants, with the aim of controlling pain after surgery while reducing the required dose of general anesthetic.
Dr Santhanam Suresh and colleagues of Northwestern University, Chicago, assessed the safety of surgery with "kiddie caudal" anesthesia in 18,650 children, average age 14 months. The study used data from the Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Network (PRAN)—a centralized database collecting detailed information on regional anesthesia techniques in children. The study reported a complication rate of less than two percent, with no serious or permanent complications. The study, published online in November, appears in the January print issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Continue>