Fact Sheet: Intraspinal and Epidural routes

An epidural catheter is a small, flexible tube that is inserted into the epidural space in the spine through a needle. It is typically used to deliver pain medication to the epidural space in order to manage pain during labor, surgery, or other medical procedures. The catheter is usually managed by a nurse, who is responsible for monitoring the patient’s pain level and adjusting the medication dosage as needed.

To ensure safe and effective pain control, it is important to have certain baseline information, including:

  • The level or site of catheter insertion: The epidural space is located between the spinal cord and the outermost layer of the spinal column, and the catheter is typically inserted at a specific level in the spine based on the location of the pain.
  • The medications that have been administered: This may include local anesthetic agents or opioids, which can be delivered through the catheter to numb the area or reduce pain.
  • The medications that are anticipated in the future: The nurse will consider the patient’s pain level, medical history, and other factors when deciding what medications to administer and when.

It is important to increase the infusion rate with caution when anesthetic agents are combined with opioids, as this can increase the risk of side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and respiratory depression. Patients receiving an epidural catheter should be assessed frequently to monitor for sensory deficits and other adverse effects. Using a lower concentration of anesthetic agent may allow for the administration of a higher concentration of opioid with a lower risk of sensory deficits.

Published by tEXtAMS

Nurse by profession. Teacher by heart.