Case report: Successful labour epidural analgesia in a patient with spinocerebellar ataxia
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PURPOSE: To report the favourable outcome associated with epidural analgesia in a parturient with spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). CLINICAL FEATURES: A 34-yr-old patient, G2 P0, presented at term with a history of SCA since the age of 22 characterized by slurred speech, balance and gait disturbances, diplopia and nystagmus. A magnetic resonance imaging of the brain at the age of 27 showed cerebellar degeneration. Neurological examination revealed an unsteady, wide-based gait, nystagmus, mild dysarthria, moderate finger to nose ataxia, absent reflexes in all upper and lower limbs, sensory loss to vibration and temperature discrimination up to the level of both knees, and normal motor strength. The patient presented for induction of labour at 40 weeks and requested epidural analgesia, which was performed in the usual manner. Following a negative test dose of 3 mL of 2% lidocaine, a loading dose of 10 mL of 0.125% bupivacaine was administered, and maintenance of analgesia was achieved with a mixture of bupivacaine 0.0625% and fentanyl 2 microg.mL(-1). The patient required standard doses of the epidural mixture, and experienced effective analgesia for labour and delivery. Her recovery was uneventful and no subsequent neurological deficit was detected up to two years after delivery. CONCLUSIONS: Neurological disorders may contraindicate regional anesthesia, and the decision to proceed with a regional technique should be based on the pathophysiology and severity of each particular case. Uneventful epidural analgesia was provided to a parturient with SCA, with no long term effects detected up to two years after delivery.