Local and Regional Anesthesia in Pediatrics

  • Belen De Jose Maria

Key Points

  • Over the past 30 years, practice of pediatric regional anesthesia and analgesia has expanded rapidly. There are now a substantial number of studies, publications, and chapters in textbooks regarding the techniques, pharmacokinetics, clinical outcomes, and dosing guidelines in children.

  • Regional anesthesia in children requires special consideration due to generally smaller anatomy and the fact that the vast majority of blocks are administered under general anesthesia or heavy sedation.

  • Multiple studies of data collected by regional anesthesia centers have found a low incidence of complications in pediatric patients receiving nerve blocks. Permanent or severe complications are extremely rare.

  • Specific complications that may hinder pediatric nerve blocks include nerve injury, inadvertent dural puncture, improper catheter tip placement, high doses with risk of local anesthetic toxicity, infection, and compartment syndrome.

  • Ultrasound-guided approaches increase efficacy of blocks and may reduce the risk of complications associated with injection of large volumes of local anesthetic.

  • As with regional practice in adults, aseptic technique and use of appropriate equipment (e.g., needle size, ultrasound probes) are critical for performance of safe nerve blockade in the pediatric population.

  • At the end of the chapter, the reader will find some personal suggestions and “pediatric common sense” safety considerations the present author considers necessary for the practice of safe pediatric regional anesthesia.


Regional anesthesia in children Central blocks in children Peripheral nerve blocks in children Complications in pediatric regional anesthesia Local anesthetic systemic toxicity in children Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia in children 



Acute compartment syndrome


French-Language Society of Pediatric Anesthesiologists


Alpha1-acid glycoprotein


American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine




Epidural infusion analgesia


General anesthesia


Intravenous lipid emulsion


Local anesthetic systemic toxicity


Postdural puncture headache


Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Network


Randomized controlled trials


Transversus abdominis plane


Ultrasound guidance


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric AnesthesiologyHospital Sant Joan de Déu, University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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