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Ventricular tachycardia during arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a report of two cases

Cho SH, Yi JW, Kwack YH, Park SW, Kim MK, Rhee YG Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery (Jan 2009)

We routinely have performed arthroscopic shoulder surgery under general anesthesia in the beach chair position using epinephrine (0.33 mg/L) saline irrigation. At a 2-week interval, two patients, a 19-year-old man scheduled to undergo an arthroscopic Bankart repair for left traumatic anterior instability and a 49-year-old woman scheduled for an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair for a left rotator cuff tear, were resuscitated by chest compression and defibrillation due to a sudden developed cardiogenic shock following ventricular tachycardia at the time of arthroscopic shoulder surgery. They were transferred to the intensive care unit because their emergent echocardiogram showed significantly decreased cardiac functions. They were fully recovered and then discharged. Epinephrine was considered to be the cause of ventricular tachycardia because the two patients showed no anaphylactic reaction to drugs or symptoms of air embolism related to the beach chair position. In addition, according to our observation of epinephrine flow patterns, it was more likely that highly concentrated epinephrine was rapidly infused into the body. This complication is very rare. However, thorough understanding of the side effects and their development of epinephrine during arthroscopic shoulder surgery should neither be overemphasized nor disregarded.

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