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Anesthesiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 165267, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Procedural Complications of Spinal Anaesthesia in the Obese Patient

1Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, University Hospital Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer Campus 1, A1, 48149 Muenster, Germany
2Medical School, University of Muenster, 48149 Muenster, Germany
3Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, St. Franziskus Hospital, 48145 Muenster, Germany

Received 5 April 2012; Accepted 25 June 2012

Academic Editor: Michael R. Frass

Copyright © 2012 Manuel Wenk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Complications of spinal anaesthesia (SpA) range between 1 and 17%. Habitus and operator experience may play a pivotal role, but only sparse data is available to substantiate this claim. Methods. 161 patients were prospectively enrolled. Data such as spread of block, duration of puncture, number of trials, any complication, operator experience, haemodynamic parameters, was recorded and anatomical patient habitus assessed. Results. Data from 154 patients were analyzed. Success rate of SpA in the group of young trainees was 72% versus 100% in the group of consultants. Trainees succeeded in patients with a normal habitus in 83.3% of cases versus 41.3% when patients had a difficult anatomy ( ). SpA in obese patients (BMI ≥ 32) was associated with a significantly longer duration of puncture, an increased failure ratio when performed by trainees (almost 50%), and an increased number of bloody punctures. Discussion. Habitus plays a pivotal role for SpA efficiency. In patients with obscured landmarks, failure ratio in unexperienced operators is high. Hence, patient prescreening as well as adequate choice of operators may be beneficial for the success rate of SpA and contribute to less complications and better patient and trainee satisfaction.