Correlation of distance from skin to lumbar epidural space with age and height of patients

Manju Bala, Monica Chhikara, Deepika ., Kiranpreet kaur, Teena Bansal, Sabiha Naz


Background: Epidural block is a popular and versatile procedure with applications as sole anaesthetic, as an analgesic adjuvant to general anaesthesia and for post-operative analgesia in procedures involving lower limbs, perineum, pelvis, abdomen and thorax. However, success of the epidural technique depends upon the correct identification of epidural space. The knowledge of distance from skin to epidural space can help in better identification of epidural space and epidural catheter placement with fewer incidences of complications. We conducted a study to find the distance from skin to the epidural space and its correlation with patient height and age to improve the success rate.  

Methods: Seventy-four patients scheduled to undergo lower lumbar surgeries where epidural block was required as anaesthetic or analgesic, were included in the study. These patients were randomly divided into four different groups of 37 patients each according to their age (group A and group B) and height (group C and group D). In these patient’s epidural block was given by standard technique according to the need of surgery and epidural depth measured. Obtained results were compared among group A, B and group C, D depending on their age and height respectively.  

Results: In group A (age 20-30 years), mean epidural depth was 3.96±0.4 cm while in group B (age 30-40 years) mean epidural depth was 4.05±0.5 centimeters. In group C (height 155-169 cm) mean epidural depth was 3.88±0.4 centimeters while it was 4.13±0.5 centimeters in group D (height 170-184 cm).

Conclusions: There was increase in epidural depth with increase in height of patients but there was no correlation between age of patients and epidural depth.


Epidural depth, Age, Height

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