An Official publication of The Asian Congress of Neurological Surgeons (AsianCNS)

Search Article
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Advertise Subscribe Contacts Login  Facebook Tweeter
  Users Online: 313 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 149-150

Severe hypotension in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery: Is it vasovagal or?

Department of Neuroanesthesiology and Neurocritical Care, Medanta Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2017

Correspondence Address:
Tumul Chowdhury
Department of Neuroanesthesiology and Neurocritical Care, Medanta Institute of Critical Care and Anesthesiology, Gurgaon, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1793-5482.144173

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Chowdhury T, Sapra H, Dubey S. Severe hypotension in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery: Is it vasovagal or?. Asian J Neurosurg 2017;12:149-50

How to cite this URL:
Chowdhury T, Sapra H, Dubey S. Severe hypotension in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery: Is it vasovagal or?. Asian J Neurosurg [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Apr 11];12:149-50. Available from:


Hemodynamic disturbances are commonly reported in cervical and upper thoracic spine surgeries. But significant cardiovascular changes during lumbar spine surgery are rarely reported. Here, we report such a case and its possible mechanism.

A 72-year-old female patient weighing 70 kg came to the hospital with lower back pain radiating to both lower limbs. Magnetic resonance imaging showed multiple level disc protrusion at the lower lumbar vertebral (L2/L3/and L4/L5) level. Patient was posted for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with vertebroplasty. Patient was a known case of hypertension and diabetes, and was on regular medications. All laboratory investigations were normal. As our routine protocol in a hypertensive patient, 2D echo was done and found to be normal. Patient was premedicated with intravenous glycopyrrolate 0.2 mg in the OT. Routines monitors were attached. General anesthesia was induced with fentanyl 2 mcg/kg, propofol 2 mg/kg, and tracheal intubation facilitated with rocuronium 1 mg/kg. Trachea was intubated using 7.5-mm cuffed flexometalic endotracheal tube. Patient was turned prone. Anesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane in oxygen air mixture (40:60) and intermittent boluses of fentanyl as and when required. All the pressure points were checked and neck was kept in neutral position. No muscle relaxation was given as neurophysiological monitoring was planned. Depth of anesthesia was maintained with minimum alveolar concenteration between 1 and 1.5. Intravenous morphine 6.0 mg was also given. At the time of dilatation near L2 vertebral level, patient had severe bradycardia (PR < 38/min) followed by hypotension (60/43 mm Hg). Within 20 s, the heart rate returned to normal, but hypotension persisted for 1.5 min, for which 6 mg ephedrine was given. During this time, patient's ETCO2 graph also showed signs of respiration. Surgeon was also noted during this time. ABG was sent for and found to be normal. After a few minutes, patient became hemodynamically stable and there was no sign of respiration too. Rest of the intraoperative course was uneventful. After completion of surgery, patient was turned back to supine position and trachea was extubated after ascertaining full neurological recovery. Patient was shifted to post-anesthesia care unit for observation.

In this case, we ruled out the other possible causes of hemodynamic disturbances such as prone positioning, anesthetic-induced blood loss, electrolyte and acid base disturbances, and diabetic autonomic neuropathy. In other case reports, the vasovagal reflex and Bezold–Jarisch reflex were postulated as the probable mechanisms of bradycardia. Its mechanism has been described as resulting from stimulation of afferent parasympathetic nerve endings due to traction on the dura, causing a reflex celiac (vasovagal) reaction.[1],[2] In our patient, the possibility of this dural traction cannot be ignored. In a recent case report, the author highlighted that autonomic dysreflexia and some central cord connections of the nerve fibers persist through which these kinds of hemodynamic perturbances occurred.[3] The severe hemodynamic alteration in our case was associated with changes in respiration too and all events occurred only during the dilatation phase of TLIF. This means the surgical stimulus might be associated with some kind of central stimulation and warrants further research. It is noteworthy here that the heart rate became normal within a few seconds, but hypotension remained for a few minutes. In this regard, invasive arterial line could detect the sudden hypotensive changes which could be easily missed by noninvasive blood pressure monitoring (usually set as 3-5 min interval).

In conclusion, one should always be vigilant regarding hemodynamic disturbances even in any level of spine surgery and routine use of invasive monitoring can detect even the subtle changes, so should be used.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Deschamps A, Carvalho G. Lumbosaccral spine surgery and severe bradycardia. Can J Anaesth 2004;54:277.  Back to cited text no. 1
Mandal N. More on lumbo-sacral spine surgery and bradycardia (Letter). Can J Anaesth 2004;51:942.  Back to cited text no. 2
Chowdhury T, Narayanasamy S, Dube SK, Rath GP. Acute hemodynamic disturbances during lumbar spine surgery. J Neurosurg Anesthesiol 2012;24:80-1.  Back to cited text no. 3

This article has been cited by
1 Hemodynamically Significant Cardiac Arrhythmias During General Anesthesia For Spine Surgery: A Case Series and Literature Review
Marie-Jacqueline Reisener,Jennifer Shue,Alexander P Hughes,Andrew A Sama,Ronald G Emerson,Carrie Guheen,James D Beckman,Ellen M Soffin
North American Spine Society Journal (NASSJ). 2020; : 100010
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Cardiovascular changes and lumbar spine surgery: A neglected entity
Shalvi Mahajan,AdarshChandra Swami,Amit Kumar
Asian Journal of Neurosurgery. 2019; 14(4): 1253
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded123    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal