Can bilateral bronchospasm be a sign of unilateral phrenic nerve palsy after supraclavicular brachial plexus block?

Research paper by Souvik S Chaudhuri, Md M Gopalkrishna, Cherish C Paul, Ratul R Kundu

Indexed on: 05 May '12Published on: 05 May '12Published in: Journal of anaesthesiology, clinical pharmacology


Ultrasound-guided peripheral nerve blocks facilitate ambulatory anesthesia for upper limb surgeries. Unilateral phrenic nerve blockade is a common complication after interscalene brachial plexus block, rather than the supraclavicular block. We report a case of severe respiratory distress and bilateral bronchospasm following ultrasound-guided supraclavicular brachial plexus block. Patient did not have clinical features of pneumothorax or drug allergy and was managed with oxygen therapy and salbutamol nebulization. Chest X-ray revealed elevated right hemidiaphragm confirming unilateral phrenic nerve paresis.