Palliative Medicine. 2008 Jul;22(5):668-670. [Link]

Gibbins J, Steeds C, Greenslade G, Tunstall S, Patel N, Stannard C.

The Macmillan Unit, North Bristol NHS Trust, Frenchay Hospital, Frenchay Park Road, Bristol.


We report the displacement of a tunnelled intrathecal catheter causing significant cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, resulting in partial coning and a sixth nerve palsy. The patient had advanced malignant mesothelioma and all other methods of pain control had been unsuccessful. As far as we are aware, there are no published reports of early replacement of an intrathecal catheter in patients with neurological sequelae. Surgical re-siting of the intrathecal catheter produced good pain relief for many months. Doctors involved in the use of indwelling intrathecal catheters for pain control must be aware of the risk of significant neurological sequelae but should not dismiss re-establishment of intrathecal therapy in the presence of significant neurological complications.

Keywords: intrathecal analgesia, cancer pain, intrathecal complications