Interscalene Brachial Plexus Block with a Continuous Catheter Insertion System and a Disposable Infusion Pump


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Abstract

Continuous interscalene brachial plexus blockade traditionally requires a hospital stay for local anesthetic infusion, and achieving consistent catheter insertion may be difficult. Incorporating long-acting pain relief from a continuous peripheral nerve block, with a reliable method of catheter insertion, and a self-contained infusion system would be a valuable asset for short-stay care. We compared the efficacy of single injection interscalene brachial plexus blockade to a continuous peripheral nerve block, with an insulated Tuohy system and a disposable infusion pump. Forty adult patients scheduled for open rotator cuff repair were entered in this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Patients received an interscalene brachial plexus blockade and a continuous peripheral nerve catheter as their primary anesthetic and then, were assigned to receive one of two different postoperative infusions: either 0.2% ropivacaine at 10 mL/h via a disposable infusion pump or normal saline at 10 mL/h via a disposable infusion pump (n = 18–20 per group). Visual analog pain scores and postoperative morphine consumption were measured for 24 h. The ropivacaine group showed less pain than the placebo group (P = 0.0001) between 12 and 24 h after the initial injection of local anesthetic. In addition, initial interscalene blockade was successful in all patients and all redosed catheters were functional after 24 h with the continuous catheter insertion system. We conclude that it is possible to achieve a high rate of successful catheter placement and analgesia by using the continuous catheter insertion system and a disposable infusion pump in the ambulatory setting. This method of analgesia may offer improved pain relief after outpatient rotator cuff repair.ImplicationsThis study demonstrates that it is possible to achieve successful interscalene brachial plexus continuous catheter insertion and a high degree of persistent analgesia by using a catheter insertion system and a disposable infusion pump administering 0.2% ropivacaine.

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