Limited knowledge of lipid rescue therapy in local anaesthetic systemic toxicity

Dan Med Bull. 2011 Jan;58(1):A4226.


Introduction: There is increasing evidence to support the use of intravenous lipid emulsion (ILE) in the management of local anaesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST) and non-local anaesthetic lipophilic-drug poisoning. This trend is supported by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland's latest guidelines on LAST treatment. Similar national guidelines have yet to be introduced in Denmark. The aim of the present study was to study the adoption of lipid rescue therapy in Denmark.

Material and methods: All Danish hospitals with an attending anaesthesiologist (no. 38) were contacted by phone. A total of 34 attending anaesthesiologists (AAs) participated in the systematic telephone survey.

Results: A total of 22 (65%) of the AAs were aware of use of ILE in the management of LAST. One (3%) had knowledge of ILE treatment for non-local anaesthetic-drug poisoning. Eight (24%) had access to local guidelines on lipid rescue therapy. The same eight AAs also knew where to find ILE. None of the hospitals lacking guidelines had taken an active stand against the treatment.

Conclusion: Patients with toxic reactions who could potentially benefit from ILE will not be offered lipid rescue therapy in 26 of 34 hospitals (76%)--either because the AA is not aware of this treatment modality, or due to absence of either guidelines or ILE. To improve the availability of lipid rescue therapy, more hospitals need to develop emergency packs containing ILE and guidelines. Introduction of national guidelines on lipid rescue therapy would probably accelerate this process.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Local / adverse effects*
  • Denmark
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Heart Arrest / chemically induced*
  • Heart Arrest / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lipids / administration & dosage
  • Lipids / therapeutic use
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Lipids