Ultrasound-guided axillary brachial plexus block with 20 milliliters local anesthetic mixture versus general anesthesia for upper limb trauma surgery: an observer-blinded, prospective, randomized, controlled trial

Brian D O'Donnell, Helen Ryan, Owen O'Sullivan, Gabrielle Iohom
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2009, 109 (1): 279-83

OBJECTIVE: We performed a randomized, controlled trial comparing low-dose ultrasound-guided axillary block with general anesthesia evaluating anesthetic and perioperative analgesic outcomes.

METHODS: Patients were randomized to either ultrasound-guided axillary block or general anesthesia. Ultrasound-guided axillary block was performed using a needle-out-of-plane approach. Up to 5 mL of local anesthetic injectate (equal parts 2% lidocaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine and 0.5% bupivacaine with 7.5 mg/mL clonidine) was injected after identifying the median, ulnar, radial, and musculocutaneous nerves. A maximum of 20 mL local anesthetic injectate was used. General anesthesia was standardized to include induction with fentanyl and propofol, maintenance with sevoflurane in an oxygen/nitrous oxide mixture. Pain scores were measured in the recovery room and at 2, 6, 24, 48 h, and 7 days. Ability to bypass the recovery room and time to achieve hospital discharge criteria were also assessed.

RESULTS: All ultrasound-guided axillary block patients achieved satisfactory anesthesia. The ultrasound-guided axillary block group had lower visual analog scale pain scores in the recovery room (0.3 [1.3] vs 55.8 [36.5], P < 0.001), and visual rating scale pain scores at 2 h (0.3 [1.3] vs 45 [29.6], P < 0.001), and at 6 h (1.1 [2.7] vs 4 [2.8], P < 0.01). All ultrasound-guided axillary block patients bypassed the recovery room and attained earlier hospital discharge criteria (30 min vs 120 min 30/240 P < 0.0001 median [range]).

CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasound-guided axillary brachial plexus block with 20 mL local anesthetic mixture provided satisfactory anesthesia and superior analgesia after upper limb trauma surgery when compared with general anesthesia.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"