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Anesthesiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 309219, 14 pages
Review Article

Recent Advances in Epidural Analgesia

1Department of Outcomes Research, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA
2Anesthesiology Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

Received 24 May 2011; Accepted 13 August 2011

Academic Editor: Andrea Trescot

Copyright © 2012 Maria Bauer 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.


Neuraxial anesthesia is a term that denotes all forms of central blocks, involving the spinal, epidural, and caudal spaces. Epidural anesthesia is a versatile technique widely used in anesthetic practice. Its potential to decrease postoperative morbidity and mortality has been demonstrated by numerous studies. To maximize its perioperative benefits while minimizing potential adverse outcomes, the knowledge of factors affecting successful block placement is essential. This paper will provide an overview of the pertinent anatomical, pharmacological, immunological, and technical aspects of epidural anesthesia in both adult and pediatric populations and will discuss the recent advances, the related rare but potentially devastating complications, and the current recommendations for the use of anticoagulants in the setting of neuraxial block placement.