Efficacy of augmenting a subacromial continuous-infusion pump with a preoperative interscalene block in outpatient arthroscopic shoulder surgery: a prospective, randomized, blinded, and placebo-controlled study

James R DeMarco, Roger Componovo, William R Barfield, Laura Liles, Paul Nietert
Arthroscopy 2011, 27 (5): 603-10

PURPOSE: This study's purpose was to determine the effectiveness of adding a preoperative interscalene brachial plexus block to standard postoperative management, including oral narcotics and a subacromial bupivacaine infusion pump, after arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

METHODS: After performing a prospective power analysis and obtaining institutional board approval, we conducted a randomized placebo-controlled trial of 53 patients separated into a preoperative interscalene brachial plexus group and a control group. Group 1 received an interscalene block with 30 mL of 0.5% ropivacaine. Group 2 received a placebo with 10 mL of saline solution. All patients postoperatively received an arthroscopically placed subacromial infusion pump catheter for 72 hours and oral narcotics. Pain scores on a visual analog scale (VAS) and narcotic pill use were recorded at 6, 12, 20, 32, 40, 52, 60, 72, and 80 hours.

RESULTS: Preoperative pain scores between groups were not significant (P > .05). A statistically significant difference was found for decreased pain scores at 6 hours after discharge in patients receiving an interscalene block (P = .001) (VAS of 30.9 in group 1 v 61.8 in group 2). There was also a decrease in the number of narcotic pills taken at the 6-hour time interval (P = .1) (0.6 pills v 1.1 pills). Group 1 had a rebound phenomenon 20 hours after discharge. Pain scores spiked as the effects of the block wore off (P = .08) (net change in VAS score increase, 25.0 v 10.3). No other statistical or clinical differences were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of a preoperative interscalene block to a postoperative subacromial infusion pump provided significant improvement of pain control only at 6 hours after discharge. Twelve hours after discharge, this benefit had disappeared. A rebound phenomenon of increased pain at 20 hours was seen after the interscalene block had worn off. After 20 hours, no statistically significant or clinically applicable differences were found.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, randomized controlled trial.

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"