Ethyl chloride spray alternatives

Laura Elgie's picture

Hello friends and colleagues

Does anyone here use anything other than ethyl chloride spray to test the level of spinal/epidural blocks?  We'd like to move away from ethyl chloride in my department and I'm trying to find out about other options.

I've read about the cold sticks that are being used in Dorset, does anyone else use these?  Or use anything else?!

Thank you



Ethyl chloride spray

louise webster's picture

Hi Laura

We use the good old fashioned ice cube! Easy to get from the freezer in the theatre staff coffee room. May not be as easy where you are and so the other thing we sometimes do is use the chlorhexidine spray that we use as antiseptic prior to neauraxial as they know how cold this is when it's sprayed on their back! 
Hope that's helpful!


Trialling cool stick

Jason Lie's picture

Hi Laura,

We are planning to trial the cool sticks in the coming months, after showing that it would provide significant financial & carbon footprint savings.



alcohol swabs

Frances Mortimer's picture

I believe some people use Sterets - if they work they may have lower environmental impact than cleaning a cool stick?



Laura Elgie's picture

Thank you for all your suggestions, very helpful!


Ethyl Chloride spray

Dr JMT Pierce's picture

Dear Laura

I have for years now, tried to find ODP (ozone depleting potential) and GWP for ethyl chloride, but without success. Have you found any reliable evidence? If we do then we could calculate the scope 1 emissions of an abdominal spray vs other means.

Tom Pierce


Case study

Becki Taylor-Smith's picture

If you have an nhs email address you can register to view this, a great case study of replacing ethyl chloride with cold sticks including cost and carbon benefits.


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