Horner's syndrome and trigeminal nerve palsy after lumbar epidural analgesia for labor and delivery

J Clin Anesth. 2002 Nov;14(7):532-4. doi: 10.1016/s0952-8180(02)00406-3.


This report highlights transient Horner's syndrome and trigeminal nerve palsy following labor epidural analgesia. A 29-year-old primigravida had a lumbar epidural catheter placed for analgesia in labor. The analgesia was maintained by infusion of a dilute local anesthetic/opioid mixture and turned off after achieving complete cervical dilation. Approximately 1 hour after delivery she complained of heaviness in her left eyelid, and was noted to have left-sided ptosis and paresthesia within the distribution of the ophthalmic and maxillary divisions of the trigeminal nerve, which resolved over the next 2 hours. There were no other neurologic changes. Horner's syndrome and cranial nerve palsies can occur as a consequence of epidural analgesia for labor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia, Epidural / adverse effects*
  • Analgesia, Obstetrical / adverse effects*
  • Delivery, Obstetric*
  • Female
  • Horner Syndrome / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric / physiology*
  • Lumbosacral Region / innervation
  • Oculomotor Nerve Diseases / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trigeminal Nerve Diseases / etiology*