Abstract

Treatment of cancer in children often requires a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiotherapy. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are not painful processes, but children undergoing these procedures must be made motionless through anesthesia or sedation. There are a few reports of complications during these procedures in relation to the procedures themselves or to the anesthesia given. This report describes an unexpected pulseless radial artery which was preliminarily and unduly attributed to anesthesia. A 2.5 year-old male pediatric patient with an acute lymphoblastic leukaemia was scheduled for radiotherapy. Anesthesia with intramuscular ketamine was induced before starting radiotherapy. About 5 minutes after injection of ketamine we found the right radial pulse undetectable. There was no other manifestation of hypoxia or hypo-perfusion. Carotid pulsation was normal.  Examination of the left radial pulse and other peripheral pulses showed normal pulsation. The procedure was continued uneventfully. The next follow-up after radiotherapy, showed a scar and swelling on the right antecubital area, caused by extravasation of chemotherapeutic agent in the prior period of chemotherapy. Doppler ultrasonography of the antecubital vein confirmed the diagnosis. This case study therefore demonstrates that proper intravenous cannula establishment before chemotherapy is of great importance. Furthermore, accurate history and physical examination before induction of anesthesia or sedation may be useful in preventing mismanagement in pediatric cancer procedures.

Keywords: Anesthesia, Radiotherapy, Radial Pulse
 
 
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