Safeguards to Prevent Neurologic Complications after Epidural Steroid Injections: Consensus Opinions from a Multidisciplinary Working Group and National Organizations

James P. Rathmell*, Honorio T. Benzon, Paul Dreyfuss, Marc Huntoon, Mark Wallace, Ray Baker, K. Daniel Riew, Richard W. Rosenquist, Charles Aprill, Natalia S. Rost, Asokumar Buvanendran, D. Scott Kreiner, Nikolai Bogduk, Daryl R. Fourney, Eduardo Fraifeld, Scott Horn, Jeffrey Stone, Kevin Vorenkamp, Gregory Lawler, Jeffrey SummersDavid Kloth, David O'Brien, Sean Tutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Epidural corticosteroid injections are a common treatment for radicular pain caused by intervertebral disc herniations, spinal stenosis, and other disorders. Although rare, catastrophic neurologic injuries, including stroke and spinal cord injury, have occurred with these injections. Methods: A collaboration was undertaken between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Safe Use Initiative, an expert multidisciplinary working group, and 13 specialty stakeholder societies. The goal of this collaboration was to review the existing evidence regarding neurologic complications associated with epidural corticosteroid injections and produce consensus procedural clinical considerations aimed at enhancing the safety of these injections. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Safe Use Initiative representatives helped convene and facilitate meetings without actively participating in the deliberations or decision-making process. Results: Seventeen clinical considerations aimed at improving safety were produced by the stakeholder societies. Specific clinical considerations for performing transforaminal and interlaminar injections, including the use of nonparticulate steroid, anatomic considerations, and use of radiographic guidance are given along with the existing scientific evidence for each clinical consideration. Conclusion: Adherence to specific recommended practices when performing epidural corticosteroid injections should lead to a reduction in the incidence of neurologic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-984
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesiology
Volume122
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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