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Laffey JG, Neligan P, Ormonde G
Journal Of Clinical Anesthesia
Prolonged perioperative myocardial ischemia in a young male: due to topical intranasal cocaine?
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We present a case of prolonged myocardial ischemia in a young healthy male presenting for nasal polypectomy and tonsillectomy. Induction of anesthesia proceeded uneventfully. Immediately after surgical incision, the patient developed a sinus tachycardia with ST-segment depression in leads II and III, and ST elevation in leads aVR, aVL, aVF, and V. Depth of anesthesia was increased, esmolol was administered, which slowed the heart rate, and the procedure was terminated. However, myocardial ischemia only gradually resolved, leaving residual T-wave flattening in lead III by day 3 postoperatively. After extensive investigation to rule out other causes of ischemia, we considered cardiotoxicity due to intranasally administered cocaine with epinephrine to be the most likely precipitant. Nasal packing with gauze soaked in a solution containing cocaine 3 mg/kg and epinephrine 1 mg occurred just 40 minutes prior to induction of anesthesia. Topical intranasal cocaine is rapidly and reliably absorbed systemically, with peak plasma concentrations occurring within 30 to 60 minutes, corresponding to the time course of cocaine administration and surgical stimulation in this patient. Systemic absorption of topical intranasal cocaine has previously been reported to cause adverse cardiac sequelae, including myocardial infarction. This report reinforces the need for caution regarding the use of topical intranasal cocaine, particularly if used in combination with epinephrine.
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