Factors in patient dissatisfaction and refusal regarding spinal anesthesia

Korean J Anesthesiol. 2010 Oct;59(4):260-4. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2010.59.4.260. Epub 2010 Oct 21.


Background: Spinal anesthesia is the most common regional anesthesia conducted for many surgical procedures. Multiple factors can affect the success, the side effects, and patient satisfaction with the procedure. This study was undertaken prospectively to discover factors affecting dissatisfaction and refusal of spinal anesthesia.

Methods: Starting in December 2007, patients who underwent spinal anesthesia in the operating rooms of our hospital were surveyed over a period of a year. Before attempting the procedure, patient characteristics and previous history of anesthesia were recorded. Spinal anesthesia was administered with 0.5% heavy bupivacaine combined with fentanyl 0-20 µg. Intraoperative data and postoperative data on the day after surgery were collected. The patients were also asked about their general satisfaction with spinal anesthesia, causes of dissatisfaction with the procedure, and causes of their refusal to have spinal anesthesia again.

Results: Six patients among 1,197 cases were excluded from the study because of spinal anesthesia failure. The dissatisfaction rate of spinal anesthesia was 3.7%, and its risk factors were more than three puncture attempts, paresthesia at puncture, postoperative nausea and vomiting, and postoperative backache. The refusal rate to have spinal anesthesia again was 3.2%, and its risk factors were postoperative backache and dissatisfaction.

Conclusions: Although spinal anesthesia was conducted safely during the study and revealed a high rate of patient satisfaction (96.3%), side effects still occurred. Therefore, attending anesthesiologists must perform the procedure carefully and always pay attention to patients under spinal anesthesia.

Keywords: Dissatisfaction; Refusal; Spinal anesthesia.