Although the contraindications for thoracic epidural anesthesia (TEA) are well defined, the debate continues about whether TEA improves outcomes. Pro and con trials and a metaanalysis in the past have yielded equivocal results; they did not deal with new vascular intervention or drugs. The benefit of TEA in surgery is to provide analgesia. In subgroups, TEA can decrease the mortality and morbidity. In contrast, the cost can increase in the situation of a complication that is opposite to the side effects is rare, but the impairment caused by them is out of proportion to the benefits. Primary or secondary prophylaxis with antithrombotic drugs is increasing in developed countries because of the increasing cardiovascular interventions and aging of the population. The neuroaxial guidelines are useful, but the changing of the coagulation profile after hepatectomy is not included in them. The decision to use TEA in liver surgery must be individualized with steps planned from the beginning. TEA suitability is based on an evaluation of the contraindications, comorbidities, coagulation profiles, hepatic reserve, and balance of benefits and risks. The insertion or withdrawal of the epidural catheter should be made with care according to the neuroaxial guidelines and in the presence of a normal TEG. The decreasing level of prothrombin content and platelet counts after hepatectomy should be closely monitored every 2 to 5 days.
|Number of pages||2|
|Publication status||Published - May 1 2008|
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