A randomised trial of the analgesic efficacy of ultrasound-guided transversus abdominis plane block after caesarean delivery under general anaesthesia

Terry T Tan, Wendy H L Teoh, David C M Woo, Cecilia E Ocampo, Mukesh K Shah, Alex T H Sia
European Journal of Anaesthesiology 2012, 29 (2): 88-94

CONTEXT: Previous studies examining the efficacy of transversus abdominis plane block after caesarean section have mostly been in parturients under spinal anaesthesia.

OBJECTIVES: We postulated that the advantage of performing transversus abdominis plane block after caesarean section might be even more obvious after general anaesthesia, resulting in reduced 24-h consumption of morphine. DESIGN, SETTING, PATIENTS AND INTERVENTIONS: In this single centre, randomised double-blind controlled trial, 40 women who underwent caesarean delivery under general anaesthesia were allocated randomly to receive a transversus abdominis plane block or no block. In those who received the block, 20 ml of levobupivacaine 2.5 mg ml was deposited bilaterally into the transversus abdominis plane under ultrasound guidance using a Sonosite Titan (SonoSite, Bothell, Washington, USA) 7-13 MHz linear transducer at the end of surgery when the patient was still anaesthetised.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We recorded patient-controlled intravenous morphine use for 24 h, pain scores at rest and activity, sedation, nausea and vomiting, use of antiemetic medication and overall maternal satisfaction. The primary outcome was 24-h morphine consumption.

RESULTS: Patients who received the transversus abdominis plane block used significantly less morphine in 24 h than those in the control group [12.3 (2.6) vs. 31.4 mg (3.1), P<0.001) and had higher satisfaction scores [16 (80%) vs. 5 (25%), P = 0.012). There were no differences between groups in the visual analogue pain scores, sedation level, nausea and vomiting or the use of antiemetic medication.

CONCLUSION: Ultrasound-guided transversus abdominis plane block reduced morphine consumption following caesarean section under general anaesthesia, with increased maternal satisfaction.

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