Glossary Entry: Epidural Catheter

Overview

Definition: An epidural catheter is a thin, flexible tube placed into the epidural space in the spine. It is used to administer medication, such as pain relievers or anesthetics, directly into this area to provide pain relief during childbirth, surgery, or certain medical conditions.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Epidural catheters may vary in size and material composition, but they all serve the same purpose of delivering medication to the epidural space.

Indications

Common Uses: Epidural catheters are commonly used for pain management during labor and delivery, post-operative pain control, and chronic pain management.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The insertion of an epidural catheter requires careful placement in the epidural space under sterile conditions. The Seldinger technique is commonly used to guide the catheter into position.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with epidural catheter placement include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and incorrect placement of the catheter leading to ineffective pain relief.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care of the catheter includes monitoring for signs of infection at the insertion site and ensuring that the catheter remains in place and functional.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Epidural catheters are often used in conjunction with epidural infusion pumps to continuously administer pain medication.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in epidural catheter technology include the development of catheters with improved flexibility and durability.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Epidural catheters are regulated medical devices, and their use must adhere to strict safety guidelines to ensure patient safety and optimal outcomes.