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Broken Intrathecal Catheter

Does anyone know if a “discontinuous” (broken) catheter can be missed on refill visits?  I recently had cervical and lumber CT myelogram and radiologist noted it was disconnected.  My neurosurgeon called me in next day; he had read the films and noted the same thing (he’s had 35 years experience).  They called my PM who is scheduling me for dye test.  I have had two pump fills since a major abdominal surgery before Christmas.  Was in so much pain I was put into ICU.  Is it possible that I had withdrawal then and the broken catheter has been missed on the two fills?  I’ve had progressively increased spinal pain since then but also have had disease progression (which is inoperable due to my overall health).  I cannot find any information on this.  Thank you in advance.  Currently on no orals.

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Comments

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,697

    Welcome yaks to the Veritas Health Forum!

    I also have a pain pump. From my learning experiences with my PM, every time I have mine refilled, when he pulls out what is left, he already knows how much there will be left from what I have used. In other words, if he puts in 20 mg and I use 10 mg there is 10 mg left. Does your PM do that? 

    My PM always told me if I thought I was going into withdrawals to immediately go to the ER. I cannot understand how a broken or discontinued catheter could be missed. I have gone through withdrawals before, they are not fun. So it seems like you would have known it.

    I hope you find some answers soon along with pain relief. Do you know when your dye test is? Please keep us posted on how you are doing and what you find out.

    Sandra
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

    • Thank you.  Am still waiting on insurance to approve test.  I was in so much pain at Xmas after my surgery that they put me in ICU for the pain, not the post op.  I was discharged and 12 hours later was ambulances back to ICU.  Was given orals and injection pain meds.  Nothing helped, no relief for a week.  My only analogy is that it was worse than being in intense labor for 8 days.  In retrospect, it sounds like I was in withdrawal then.  But no one thought of it.  My PM does measure the med during a fill.  But I understand that the med can go into the body when the catheter is broken so I wonder if the catheter condition would impact the amount remaining in the reservoir.  Thank you very much for replying.
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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,697

    If the cath was broke, more than likely the meds did not go through, that's why you went through withdrawals. If I were you, I would ask my PM to withdraw what is left in the pump and measure it against what he put in it the last time. That seems to be the easiest way to get an answer. The next time you have a refill, when he pulls out what is left, ask him how much is left. I get a print out every time showing everything. I would ask for one if I were you.

    Good luck and I hope someone does something soon.
    Sandra

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