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Magnets may help prevent rare complication of spinal anesthesia
Date:6/1/2012

San Francisco, CA. (June 1, 2012) An simple technique using local anesthetic mixed with magnetized "ferrofluids" may provide a new approach to preventing a rare but serious complication of spinal anesthesia, reports the June issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

With further research, the magnet technique may provide a second meansin addition to gravityof preventing "high spinal block," which occurs when spinal anesthetics spread to the upper portions of the spinal cord. The preliminary studies were performed by Dr Robert H. Thiele of University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville.

Magnetic Technique May Permit Gravity-Defying Anesthesia

Although very rareoccurring at a rate of about 0.6 per 1,000 caseshigh spinal block is a serious complication of spinal anesthesia. It occurs when injected anesthetics travel too high in the spinal cord, interfering with the spinal cord fibers governing heart function. This can result in sharp drops in heart rate and blood pressure, with a risk of cardiac arrest and death.

Anesthesiologists currently prevent high spinal block by modifying the anesthetic dose and by positioning the patient so that gravity distributes the anesthetic to the lower portions of the spinal cord. "However, in certain instances, gravitational forces alone may not be sufficient to control block height," the researchers write. They evaluated a different approach: using magnetized anesthetic fluid and a weak magnetic field to control the spread of fluids.

Dr. Thiele and colleagues created a simple model of the spine using fluid-filled plastic tubing. They then prepared a local anesthetic solution with or without the addition of a water-based ferrofluid to magnetize the fluid. In this model, both fluids ran downward by gravity.

However, when a magnet placed outside the tubing, below the level of the
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Contact: Lisa Webb
lisa.webb@wolterskluwer.com
215-521-8319
Anesthesia and Analgesia
Source:Eurekalert

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