Transient Neuronal Injury Followed by Intravascular Injection During an Ultrasound Guided Stellate Ganglion Block


Hariharan Shankar 1 , * , Swetha Simhan 2

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Clement Zablocki VA Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, [email protected], USA

2 Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA

How to Cite: Shankar H, Simhan S. Transient Neuronal Injury Followed by Intravascular Injection During an Ultrasound Guided Stellate Ganglion Block, Anesth Pain Med. Online ahead of Print ; 2(3):134-137. doi: 10.5812/aapm.7823.


Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine: 2 (3); 134-137
Published Online: January 1, 2013
Article Type: Case Report
Received: August 20, 2012
Accepted: October 9, 2012


Ultrasound guidance for pain interventions is becoming increasing recognized as a useful imaging tool. One of the common interventions where it is gaining wider acceptance is during the performance of a stellate ganglion block. The following is a unique report where intravascular and neuronal injury occurred during the performance of an ultrasound guided stellate ganglion block followed by dysphagia. 41 year old male, with a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome, was referred to our clinic for further management. He underwent a diagnostic ultrasound guided stellate ganglion block after having tried conservative therapies. The stellate ganglion block provided him with complete pain relief for over five weeks. During a subsequent therapeutic stellate ganglion block, performed by an experienced pain medicine fellow with more than 50 ultrasound guided proceduresclinician, the patient developed a transient injury to the brachial plexus upon needle entry. Subsequent redirection and injection of an ml of injectate resulted in an intravascular injection producing tinnitus. After the tinnitus decreased, he underwent another stellate block using an out of plane approach without any further complications. Two days later, he reported chest and throat discomfort which resolved over the next few days possibly due to a retropharyngeal hematoma. He declined further interventions and was subsequently managed with 3 tablets of oxycodone a day. This report highlights the importance of vigilance and meticulous planning during the performance of ultrasound guided pain interventions.

Full Text

Full text is available in PDF

© 2013, Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.