Pain Management Procedure Causes Stroke

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on October 13, 2017

This case involves a sixty-two-year-old male who underwent a pain management procedure for chronic lumbar radiculopathy with associated lumbar disc herniation. The procedure was a fluoroscopically guided, contrast controlled left L5 and S1 transforaminal epidural steroid injection with epidurogram done under local anesthesia plus IV sedation. The pre-operative notes reflect that the patient had a blood pressure over 200 on several readings, but the physician still chose to conduct the procedure. The procedure was performed uneventfully and the operative notes make no mention of any difficulty. Shortly after, however, the patient displayed stroke-like symptoms in the recovery room. A CAT scan performed after surgery showed a right internal capsule lacunar infarct with a subtle area of low attenuation.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Should the patient’s high blood pressure been given more attention before the surgical procedure?

Expert Witness Response E-000116

Operating while the patient has such high blood pressure is certainly not within the standard of care. If a patient has high blood pressure, and 200 is certainly high, then the blood pressure needs to be controlled before a procedure like this is done. Whenever I have a patient with 200+ blood pressure, I promptly administer currently accepted medical therapy for hypertension, and only push for surgery when it is a medical emergency.

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