Potential Complications. As with all ultrasound-guided nerve blocks, systemic toxicity from inadvertent vascular injection and peripheral nerve injury should always be considered. Specifically for the ultrasound-guided SCP block, if the provider chooses a level too low (C6) or too deep (beneath the prevertebral fascia), phrenic nerve, recurrent laryngeal nerve, deep cervical plexus, or brachial plexus block can occur. Also, a transient Horner’s syndrome can occur if the anesthetic travels deep in the prevertebral fascial plane and reaches the cervical sympathetic chain. Even though uncommon, understanding possible unwanted side effects is imperative for any clinician performing the SCP block (or any procedure).
Dr. Nagdev is director of emergency ultrasound at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California.
Dr. Herring is an attending physician at Highland General Hospital.
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