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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 65-68

Epidural catheter fixation. A comparison of subcutaneous tunneling versus device fixation technique

Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive care, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ashima Sharma
B 205, Alpine Heights, Somajiguda, Hyderabad, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9185.175667

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Background and Aims: The technique of securing the epidural catheter has a major bearing on the efficacy of epidural analgesia. Specific fixator devices, for e.g., Lockit epidural catheter clamp, which successfully prevents catheter migration, are available. The possibility of catheter snapping and surgical retrieval has been reported with tunneling of catheters. These techniques have not been compared for safety, efficacy and appropriateness of achieving secure epidural catheter fixation in the postoperative period. Material and Methods: A total of 200 patients who required postoperative epidural analgesia were included. They were randomized into two groups: Group I (n = 100) in whom epidural catheters were tunneled vertically in the paravertebral subcutaneous tissue and group II (n = 100) wherein a Lockit device was used to fix the catheter. Likert score was used to quantify patient's comfort during procedure. The techniques were compared for migration, catheter dislodgement, local trauma, catheter snapping and catheter obstruction. Results: 12% of tunneled catheters had migrated significantly outward. 22% of patients had erythema and 77% had significant procedural discomfort in group I. In group II, 3% catheters had kinked and 14% had erythema from device adhesive. Conclusion: Our results support the use of Lockit device as a safe and comfortable fixation device compared to subcutaneous tunneling of catheters.

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