Lumbar and thoracic epidural analgesia via the caudal approach for postoperative pain relief in infants and children

Deborah K. Rasch, Dawn E. Webster, Trevor G. Pollard, Mary Ann Gurkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Thirty infants scheduled for a variety of gastrointestinal, genitourinary and thoracic surgical procedures were selected for insertion of lumbar or thoracic epidural catheters via the caudal approach using either an Intracath® or a Burron® continuous brachial plexus kit. The catheters were inserted with ease by residents in training and no catheter-related complications were encountered. Lidocaine 0.5 per cent with 1:200,000 epinephrine was then injected to assure proper placement of the catheter before narcotics were administered. Postoperative analgesia was adequate in all patients using preservative-free morphine 0.05 mg · kg- 1. The mean dosing interval was 15 hr and no episodes of nausea, vomiting, hypotension or histamine release were noted. Urinary retention occurred in two infants and one infant became apnoeic three hours after epidural morphine administration but responded to naloxone and pulmonary ventilation with bag and mask. In conclusion, epidural catheters placed via the caudal approach are a safe and effective means of providing postoperative pain control in infants using preservative-free morphine. However, the use of epidural narcotics in infants less than two years of age is restricted to those who will receive intensive care unit monitoring postoperatively so that if apnoea occurs, rapid intervention can be taken by-skilled nursing personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-362
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • anaesthesia: paediatric
  • anaesthetic techniques: epidural, caudal
  • analgesia: postoperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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