Jan 2, 2001

Chiari type I malformation and postoperative respiratory failure

Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia = Journal Canadien D'anesthésie
D L WilliamsA Boulton


To present a case of respiratory failure following suboccipital craniectomy for Chiari type I malformation. A 22-yr-old man presented with a two year history of symptoms and signs suggestive of brainstem compression at the level of the foramen magnum. This was confirmed with magnetic resonance imaging. The procedure of suboccipital craniectomy, upper cervical laminectomy and fourth ventricle exploration was performed. Three hours postoperatively the patient experienced episodes of apnea and subsequently became drowsy. Blood gas analysis revealed hypercapnic respiratory failure. Chest X-ray revealed evidence of pulmonary aspiration. The trachea was re-intubated and the lungs ventilated in intensive care for 72 hr. He was discharged home two weeks postoperatively. Chiari type I malformation is associated with a number of associated anomalies. These patients are at considerable risk of respiratory depression and bulbar dysfunction in the perioperative period. The anesthetic issues are reviewed and discussed.

Mentioned in this Paper

Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Arnold-Chiari Malformation, Type I
Chiari Malformation Type II
Respiratory Failure
Anesthesia Procedures
Respiratory Depression
Radiography, Thoracic
Analysis of Arterial Blood Gases and pH

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