Continuous Infusion Versus Single Bolus Popliteal Block Following Major Ankle and Hindfoot Surgery: A Prospective, Randomized Trial

Department of Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basingstoke, UK.
Foot & Ankle International (Impact Factor: 1.51). 12/2010; 31(12):1043-7. DOI: 10.3113/FAI.2010.1043
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Popliteal sciatic nerve blockade is a commonly used technique employed in the management of postoperative pain following foot and ankle surgery. Recent studies have shown that for outpatient surgery, for moderately painful procedures, a continuous infusion of local anesthesia via an in-dwelling catheter for 48 to 72 hours leads to reduced opiate analgesic requirements and improved pain and patient satisfaction scores.
A prospective, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of a continuous infusion of bupivacaine verses normal saline via a popliteal catheter after a single bolus popliteal block for 72 hours after major ankle and hind foot surgery was performed in 54 patients.
The average pain scores overall were low (range, 1.1 to 3.6 on a Visual Analogue Scale of 0 to 10) throughout the study period. Statistically significantly lower pain scores with significantly less requirement for supplementary opiate analgesic agents were seen in the treatment group.
Despite the statistically significant findings, with such low pain scores in both groups, we believe it remains debatable whether the extra time and cost involved warrants the use of a continuous popliteal blockade over a single bolus injection.

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    • "Furthermore, 95% of PSNB patients showed satisfaction, including "average" satisfaction. Elliot et al. [21] reported that continuous nerve block due to sciatic nerve catheterization after foot and ankle joint surgery can reduce the need for extra pain relief and pain after surgery. Navas et al. [22] reported that this procedure increases pain relief after surgery, thus improving patient satisfaction. "
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    ABSTRACT: Many practitioners consider continuous peripheral nerve blocks (cPNBs) to be superior to single-injection peripheral nerve blocks (siPNBs). Several randomized controlled trials have demonstrated improved pain control, patient satisfaction, and other outcomes for patients with cPNBs compared with patients with siPNBs, whereas other trials have not shown significant differences. We sought to clarify any potential advantages of cPNBs over siPNBs. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all prospective, randomized trials comparing cPNBs with siPNBs. We used a validated systematic search strategy to identify potentially eligible studies. For studies meeting inclusion criteria, methodologic quality was scored independently by 2 reviewers. Data from the studies were abstracted and pooled for meta-analysis. Compared with siPNBs, cPNBs were associated with a decreased rating of worst pain on postoperative day 0 (effect size [ES], -1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.19 to -0.40; P = 0.005), postoperative day 1 (ES, -1.87; 95% CI, -2.44 to -1.31; P < 0.001), and postoperative day 2 (ES, -2.03; 95% CI, -2.78 to -1.290; P < 0.001); decreased overall opioid use (ES, -15.70; 95% CI, -21.84 to -9.55; P < 0.001); less nausea (ES, 0.633; 95% CI, 0.407-0.983; P = 0.043); and higher patient satisfaction scores (weighted mean difference, -2.04; 95% CI, 1.24-2.85; P < 0.001). Compared with siPNBs, cPNBs were associated with improved pain control, decreased need for opioid analgesics, less nausea, and greater patient satisfaction. The effect of cPNBs on other clinically relevant outcomes, such as complications, long-term functional outcomes, or costs, remains unclear.
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