Epidural and subarachnoid anesthesia are well established central regional techniques for surgical anesthesia. Two additional techniques, combined spinal epidural (CSE) block and continuous spinal anesthesia (CSA), have recently become popular. However, data on nation-wide use of central regional blocks are not available.
With the aims to survey the use of central regional techniques, to evaluate the risk of complications to central regional blocks and to document the use of continuous epidural techniques for postoperative pain management in Sweden during 1993, a questionnaire was mailed to all 105 Swedish anesthesiology departments.
Questionnaires were returned by 62 departments, representing all categories of Swedish hospitals. Central regional blocks were used for surgical anesthesia in 20-40% of reported surgical procedures. Subarachnoid anesthesia was the main technique for orthopedic surgery on the lower limb, elective cesarean section and transurethral resection of the prostate. Epidural block was used for orthopedic and vascular surgery. CSE block was used by 42 departments and CSA by 21 departments. Postoperative epidural analgesia was used by 59 departments, most commonly with continuous infusion of local anesthestics and/or epidural bolusdoses of morphine. Nineteen neurological sequelae were reported after epidural (n = 7) and subarachnoid (n = 12) blocks. Routines for registration of complications varied greatly.
Subarachnoid block was preferred for shorter surgical procedures (