Spinal nerve block by intrathecal phenol-glycerine infusion is commonly employed for relief of severe pain in terminal carcinomatosis and, frequently, a dramatic regional anesthetic effect is achieved. However, nerve block by this procedure may in very rare instances give rise to serious complications.We have seen a case of terminal malignant melanoma in which clinical manifestations, indicative of anterior spinal artery syndrome, developed following the injection of 0.3 ml of 10% phenol-glycerine into the cervical subarachnoid space at the C4–C5 level for the control of severe right arm pain. This report describes the clinical course of the patient over a period of 4 months after the nerve block and the post-mortem findings along with a brief review of the literature.
Accepted October 6, 1978.
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