Intrathecal hyperbaric bupivacaine 3 mg + fentanyl 10 μg for outpatient knee arthroscopy with tourniquet

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BackgroundCombination of local anesthetic and opioid enables the use of less spinal anesthetic and increases the success of anesthesia. Intrathecal opioid does not prolong motor recovery and thus should not delay discharge home. We hypothesized that 3 mg of hyperbaric bupivacaine with 10 μg of fentanyl permits fast-tracking or shorter stay in post anesthesia care unit (PACU), and earlier discharge home, compared with 4 mg of hyperbaric bupivacaine.MethodsIn this double-blind study, 100 outpatients undergoing knee arthroscopy received randomly either 4 mg of bupivacaine (B4) or 3 mg of bupivacaine + 10 μg fentanyl (B3F) intrathecally. The volume of 0.8 ml was injected at the L2/3 interspace over a 2-min period. A lateral decubitus position was maintained for 10 min. The sensory block was recorded by using thermal stimuli, and motor block was assessed according to a modified Bromage scale. Fast-tracking criteria were complete recovery of motor block, sensory block Th12 or lower and stable vital signs.ResultsOne block (1%) failed. Motor recovery was faster in the B3F group: 60% of the patients recovered in 80 min or less compared with 28% in group B4 (P = 0.002). The PACU-time was shorter: 36 (10–103) vs. 55 (10–140) min, respectively (P = 0.005). Seventeen (B3F) vs. nine patients (B4) could bypass PACU (NS). Time to discharge home was similar in both groups. In the B3F group, 75% of the patients developed pruritus.ConclusionBoth solutions produced reliable spinal anesthesia for outpatient knee arthroscopy. The PACU-time was shorter in the bupivacaine-fentanyl group, but both groups reached home-readiness equally.

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