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A clinical comparison of continuous interscalene brachial plexus block with different basal infusion rates of 0.2% ropivacaine for shoulder surgery.

BACKGROUND: A continuous interscalene brachial plexus block is a highly effective postoperative analgesic modality after shoulder surgery. However, there is no consensus regarding the optimal basal infusion rate of ropivacaine for a continuous interscalene brachial plexus block. A prospective, double blind study was performed to compare two different basal rates of 0.2% ropivacaine for a continuous interscalene brachial plexus block after shoulder surgery.

METHODS: Sixty-two patients receiving shoulder surgery under an interscalene brachial plexus block were included. The continuous interscalene brachial plexus block was performed using a modified lateral technique with 30 ml of 0.5% ropivacaine. Surgery was carried out under an interscalene brachial plexus block or general anesthesia. After surgery, the patients were divided randomly into two groups containing 32 each. During the first 48 h after surgery, groups R8 and R6 received a continuous infusion of 0.2% ropivacaine at 8 ml/h and 6 ml/h, respectively. The pain scores at rest and on movement, supplemental analgesia, motor block, adverse events and patient's satisfaction were recorded.

RESULTS: The pain scores, supplemental analgesia, motor block, adverse events and patient's satisfaction were similar in the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: When providing continuous interscalene brachial plexus block after shoulder surgery, 0.2% ropivacaine at a basal rate of 8 ml/h or 6 ml/h produces similar clinical efficacy. Therefore, decreasing the basal rate of CISB is more appropriate considering the toxicity of local anesthetics.

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