The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a novel regional anesthetic technique for the management of pain in the postoperative period in infants and children undergoing myringotomy and tube placement.Methods
After institutional review board (IRB) approval was obtained, 200 children were randomized in this double blind, prospective, randomized controlled trial to receive either a nerve block of the auricular branch of the Vagus (Nerve of Arnold) with 0.2 ml of 0.25% bupivacaine or receive intranasal fentanyl 2 mcg·kg−1 after induction of general anesthesia. Patients were monitored in the recovery room for analgesia, need for additional analgesia, incidence of nausea and vomiting, and time to discharge from the hospital. Additional analgesics administered in the PACU, surgical short-stay unit as well as at home were also recorded.Results
There was no difference in the pain scores between groups (P=0.53); there was no difference in the amount of rescue medications between groups (P=0.86); there was no difference in the incidence of nausea and vomiting between groups (P=0.34); there was no difference in the time to discharge between groups (P=0.5).Conclusions
This pilot study demonstrates the efficacy of a peripheral nerve block for management of postoperative pain in infants and children undergoing myringotomy and tube placement. This may be a viable alternative for postoperative pain control in this population. Future multi-center, randomized controlled trials may be necessary to validate the efficacy of this block in infants and children.