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Continuous peripheral nerve blocks at home for treatment of recurrent complex regional pain syndrome I in children.

Anesthesiology 2005 Februrary
BACKGROUND: Recurrent complex regional pain syndrome I is not rare in the pediatric population. The authors conducted this study to evaluate the efficacy of continuous peripheral nerve blocks with elastomeric disposable pumps associated with initial Bier blocks for the treatment of recurrent complex regional pain syndrome I in children.

METHODS: After parental informed consent, 13 children who did not respond to conventional complex regional pain syndrome treatment were included (mean age, 13 yr; range, 9-16 yr). After general anesthesia, peripheral nerve block was performed using 0.5 ml/kg lidocaine, 1%, with epinephrine and 0.5% ropivacaine injected in the peripheral nerve block catheter. Then, a 20-min Bier block was performed using a tourniquet and 0.2 ml/kg lidocaine, 1%; 3 ml/kg hydroxyethyl starch 130/06; and 5 mg/kg buflomedil injected intravenously. A solution of 0.1 ml . kg . h continuous ropivacaine, 0.2%, was infused through the catheter using an elastomeric pump for 96 h. Need for rescue analgesia, occurrence of side effects, and status of motor and sensory block were recorded at hours 1, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 96. Children and parents completed a satisfaction assessment. All of the children had follow-up visits after 2 months.

RESULTS: Postoperative analgesia was excellent. The median pain score was 0 for each period studied. Motor blockade was minimal before 12 h (median, 1) and absent thereafter. One child needed rescue analgesia. All children were able to walk easily after the initial 24-h period (walking score, > 4). Children and parents were all satisfied. Children returned home under parental surveillance beginning in the 24th hour. Neither peripheral nerve block nor Bier block caused side effects. After 2 months, none of the children exhibited any clinical symptom of recurrent complex regional pain syndrome.

CONCLUSION: Ambulatory continuous peripheral nerve block associated with an initial Bier block seems to be a significant and novel contribution to treat recurrent pediatric complex regional pain syndrome I. It allows complete pain relief, early mobilization, and rapid return home, representing a psychological advantage for these children.

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