What is the incidence of local anesthetic toxicity in the US?

Updated: Jan 09, 2019
  • Author: Raffi Kapitanyan, MD; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
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The frequency of local anesthetic toxicity is difficult to determine because these agents are used widely in a variety of settings, most reactions probably involve only minor symptoms, and most reactions are not reported. Systemic toxicity from local anesthetics has been estimated to occur in 0.03% of peripheral nerve blocks, or 0.27 episodes per 1,000 blocks. [4]  

In the United States in 2019, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), 1934 single exposures to lidocaine were reported, along with 2774 single exposures to other or unknown local and/or topical anesthetics. Of the lidocaine exposures reported by the AAPCC, 621 occurred in children younger than 6 years. [5]

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