Infraclavicular brachial plexus block versus humeral approach: comparison of anesthetic time and efficacy

Vincent Minville, Roland Amathieu, N'Guyen Luc, Claude Gris, Olivier Fourcade, Kamran Samii, Dan Benhamou
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2005, 101 (4): 1198-201, table of contents

UNLABELLED: Most upper arm regional anesthesia techniques are successful and differences in efficacy should not dictate the choice of technique. In the present study, we compared humeral block (HB) and infraclavicular brachial plexus block (ICB) using anesthetic time (i.e., duration of the procedure + onset time) as the primary outcome measure. The block was successful when a complete sensory block was obtained in the four major nerves of the arm, and the time to complete block was recorded. Patients undergoing orthopedic surgery of the upper limb were included in a prospective randomized study and received ICB (group I, n = 60 patients) or HB (group H, n = 60 patients). Total anesthetic time was 19.5 min (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.4-21.6 min) for ICB and 20.8 min (95% CI, 18.7--22.9 min) for HB (not significant). Time to perform the block was 4.5 min (95% CI, 4-5 min) for ICB and 9.8 min (95% CI, 8.9--10.7 min) for HB (P < 0.05). The onset time was 15 min (95% CI, 13-17 min) for ICB and 11 min (95% CI, 9--13 min) for HB (P < 0.05). The success rate was 92% for ICB and 95% for HB (not significant). One self-limited vascular puncture was made in each group. HB had a faster onset time but ICB using a double-stimulation technique was faster to perform. Anesthetic time was similar with the two techniques.

IMPLICATIONS: We have compared infraclavicular brachial plexus block (ICB) with humeral block. Efficacy and anesthetic time were not significantly different, although time to perform the block was shorter with the ICB.

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