Background and objective: Although lidocaine has been used extensively for spinal anaesthesia since 1949, it has been associated with transient neurological symptoms only in the past 10 yr. It has been suggested that early ambulation after spinal anaesthesia, as opposed to traditional 24 h recumbency, might be the causative factor for the development of transient neurological symptoms. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of early ambulation on the incidence of transient neurological symptoms after single injection spinal anaesthesia with lidocaine 2%.
Methods: Sixty patients undergoing minor surgery under spinal anaesthesia were included. All patients received lidocaine 60 mg. After the establishment of successful subarachnoid block, patients were randomly allocated to two groups of 30 patients. Patients in Group 1 were ambulated as soon as possible, whereas patients in Group 2 were kept recumbent until 6 h after subarachnoid injection. Two days after surgery patients were contacted by a blinded observer and interviewed of transient neurological symptoms using a standardized questionnaire. Patients were asked to express the intensity of pain/discomfort on a verbal rating scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable).
Results: There was no significant difference in the incidence of transient neurological symptoms (23% vs. 27%). In all patients, symptoms resolved completely within 6–24 h. The median pain score was 5 (range 2–8) in Group 1 and 7 (range 1–8) in Group 2.
Conclusions: Under the conditions of this study, there is no correlation between the time of ambulation after spinal anaesthesia with lidocaine and the incidence of transient neurological symptoms.