Intrathecal baclofen pumps are commonly used for the management of lower extremity spasticity in the setting of spinal cord injury. There have been no reports of the performance of spinal anesthesia in patients with a pre-existing intrathecal baclofen pump.
A 29-year-old parturient presented for cesarean section. She had a history of spinal cord injury due to fractures of the thoracic vertebrae with lower extremity spasticity, which had been treated with an intrathecal baclofen pump inserted through lumbar (L) 3-L4 intervertebral space. Preoperative lumbosacral ultrasound was performed to identify the L4-5 interspace, and spinal anesthesia was performed through that space with a 25-gauge 3.5-inch-long Whitacre spinal needle. Thoracic (T) 4 dermatomal level anesthesia was achieved, and the patient underwent the cesarean section without requiring additional intravenous analgesic adjuncts.
Spinal anesthesia can be successfully performed in patients with intrathecal baclofen pumps. Existing intrathecal catheters can be located with preoperative imaging, and ultrasound can be used to determine the vertebral levels below the intrathecal catheter through which spinal anesthesia can be performed safely.