Lidocaine versus ropivacaine for continuous interscalene brachial plexus block after open shoulder surgery

A Casati, F Vinciguerra, M Scarioni, G Cappelleri, G Aldegheri, P Manzoni, G Fraschini, J E Chelly
Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 2003, 47 (3): 355-60

BACKGROUND: This study compared the postoperative infusion of 1% lidocaine and 0.2% ropivacaine for continuous interscalene analgesia in patients undergoing open shoulder surgery.

METHODS: Forty patients undergoing open shoulder surgery received an interscalene brachial plexus block with 30 ml of either 1.5% lidocaine (n = 20) or 0.5% ropivacaine (n = 20), followed by a continuous patient-controlled interscalene analgesia with 1% lidocaine or 0.2% ropivacaine, respectively. A blinded observer recorded the quality of analgesia and recovery of motor function during the first 24 h of infusion.

RESULTS: Onset of the block occurred after 7.5 (5-40) min with lidocaine and 30 (10-60) min with ropivacaine (P = 0.0005). Postoperative pain intensity was higher with lidocaine than ropivacaine for the first 8 h of infusion. The ratio between boluses given and demanded from the pump was 0.5 (0.13-0.7) with lidocaine and 0.7 (0.4-1.0) with ropivacaine (P = 0.005). Rescue IV tramadol was required during the first 24 h of infusion by 16 patients of the lidocaine group (84%) and eight patients of the ropivacaine group (46%) (P = 0.05). At the 16 h and 24 h observation times a larger proportion of patients receiving ropivacaine had complete regression of motor block (70% and 95%) than patients receiving lidocaine (50% and 55%) (P = 0.05 and P = 0.013, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Although 1% lidocaine can be effectively used for postoperative patient-controlled interscalene analgesia, 0.2% ropivacaine provides better pain relief and motor function.

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