Management of potential supply disruption to epidural kits (update)

ANZCA has been made aware of a potential temporary supply disruption for one brand of commonly used epidural kit. This has arisen due to validation issues with the resin used for the 10 ml “loss of resistance” device supplied with the kits. It is understood that alternative 7ml loss of resistance devices will be supplied.

Clinicians in NSW will be aware of a Safety Information notice which addresses this issue, accessible through the NSW Health intranet. This alert recommends conservation of epidural kits for epidural use only (and suggests that epidural kits not be used for nerve blocks). ANZCA endorses the information and recommendations in the Safety notice.

Update 12 August 2022:

  • ANZCA received advice from the manufacturer on 8 August that a large shipment is expected next week. They now predict a return to business as usual by October. They do not predict any significant disruption between now and October.
  • The Obstetric Anaesthesia Special Interest Group has published a helpful article in its August Newsletter comparing the features of the two most common brands of epidural kit, for those who may find themselves using a less familiar brand.
    • Note: ANZCA’s latest information is that while 7mL syringes were being supplied temporarily, the 10mL syringes are now returning as the shortage eases.
  • ANZCA was in contact with the major alternative manufacturer of epidural kits on 11 August. They report that their stock is at business-as-usual levels, but they do not carry a level of surplus that would allow filling unanticipated large orders from new customers.

Last updated 13:13 12.08.2022