Analysis of thoracic epidurography and correlating factors affecting the extent of contrast medium spread

  • Hong, Ji Hee (Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Keimyung University Dongsan Hospital, School of Medicine) ;
  • Oh, Jung Hue (Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Keimyung University Dongsan Hospital, School of Medicine) ;
  • Park, Ki Bum (Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Keimyung University Dongsan Hospital, School of Medicine)
  • Received : 2016.08.08
  • Accepted : 2016.09.01
  • Published : 2016.10.01


Background: Thoracic epidural anesthesia is frequently used to maintain intraoperative and postoperative analgesia. Frequently, 3 ml of local anesthetic is used as a test dose, or for intermittent epidural injection. We assessed the extent of the spread of 3 ml of contrast medium in the thoracic epidural space and attempted to identify any correlating factors affecting the epidurography. Methods: A total of 70 patients were enrolled in the study, and thoracic epidural catheterizations were performed under fluoroscopic guidance. Using 3 ml of contrast medium, epidurography was evaluated to confirm the number of spinal segments covered by the contrast medium. Correlation analysis was performed between patient characteristics (sex, age, body mass index, weight, height, and location of catheter tip) and the extent of the contrast spread. Results: The mean number of vertebral segments evaluated by contrast medium was $7.9{\pm}2.2$ using 3 ml of contrast medium. The contrast spread in the cranial direction showed more extensive distribution than that in the caudal direction, with statistical significance (P < 0.01). Patient height demonstrated a negative correlation with the extent of distribution of contrast medium (r = -0.311, P < 0.05). Conclusions: Thoracic epidurography using 3 ml of contrast medium results in coverage of a mean of $7.9{\pm}2.2$ spinal segments, with more extensive cranial spread, and patient height showed a weak negative correlation with the distribution of contrast medium.


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