Complications of Intravenous Regional Anesthesia

  • Dominic A. Cave
  • Barry A. Finegan


Intravenous regional anesthesia (IVRA) of the limb was first described by Bier in 1908.1 The original technique involved the surgical exposure of, and direct injection of local anesthetic into, an antecubital vessel, of an exsanguinated and isolated upper limb, thereby rendering the tissue below the applied tourniquet insensitive to pain. IVRA is a simple and effective method of providing anesthesia to peripheral tissues that anatomically have a blood supply which can be occluded by a pneumatic cuff. The technique in use today consists of the placement of a catheter in a suitable vein before exsanguination of the surgical site by gravity or compression, the inflation of a pneumatic double tourniquet, and the injection of a local anesthetic into the venous system of the isolated limb. Serious IVRA-related complications are rare and can be classified as drug and tourniquet related.2


Compartment Syndrome Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Central Nervous System Toxicity Neuromuscular Blocking Drug 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominic A. Cave
    • 1
  • Barry A. Finegan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineUniversity of Alberta HospitalEdmontonCanada

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