Complications of intrathecal therapy
What type of complications can occur with intrathecal therapy?
Aside from drug side effects and surgical complications, intrathecal drug delivery systems are complicated devices that can fail in several ways. The pump itself can break free from securing sutures and flip within the pump pocket such that the reservoir cannot be accessed to be refilled. The internal mechanism of the pump can corrode over time, resulting in a motor stall and cessation of drug delivery. Battery-powered pumps will eventually run out and require replacement. The intrathecal catheter can become kinked or fracture, again resulting in cessation of drug delivery. Drug mixing errors can occur, resulting in overdose. Lastly, refilling of intrathecal pumps can result in advertant injection of highly concentrated drugs into the subcutaneous tissues of the pump pocket, rather than the intrathecal pump itself resulting in overdose.