Anesthesia and patients with congenital hyposensitivity to pain

Toby N. Weingarten, Juraj Sprung, Joel D. Ackerman, Katarina Bojanic, James C. Watson, Peter J. Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Congenital hyposensitivity to pain or hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy represents a variety of disorders characterized by decreased perception of nociception, loss of other modalities of sensation, and variable expression of autonomic dysfunction. Sensory loss, especially that of pain, is associated with self-mutilations that may require frequent operations. Little is known about the safety of anesthesia for these patients. METHODS: The authors performed a computerized search of the Mayo Clinic medical records database between January 1996 and November 2005 for patients with congenital hyposensitivity to pain and related disorders who underwent general anesthesia. Medical records were reviewed for demographics, anesthetic techniques and agents, use of opioids, and perioperative complications. In addition, the authors conducted a comprehensive review of the literature to summarize the current knowledge regarding anesthesia for patients with congenital hyposensitivity to pain, and compared it with the patients with hyposensitivity to pain identified at the Mayo Clinic. RESULTS: The authors identified seven patients with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy II, IV, or V and undefined variants of congenital pain hyposensitivity who generated 17 anesthesia records: 12 for orthopedic operations, 3 for sural nerve biopsies, and 2 for ophthalmologic procedures. In all patients, standard doses of volatile agents were used during anesthesia. Small amounts of opioids were used during the course of eight operations. Most patients experienced mild hypothermia (lowest temperature 34.7°C), and none experienced hyperthermia. All patients were hemodynamically stable during otherwise uneventful anesthesia. During recovery from anesthesia, opioids were given to only one patient, a single dose of 1 mg morphine. Even after major orthopedic operations, the patient did not require additional analgesia. CONCLUSIONS: The patients with profound congenital hyposensitivity to pain underwent anesthesia without any adverse events. The authors found that despite reduced pain perception, the requirements for volatile anesthetics were within the expected range for population with normal pain perception, but they did not require opioids postoperatively. Intraoperative mild hypothermia was easily managed by adjustment of environmental temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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