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RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Ultrasound-guided bilateral transversus abdominis plane blocks in conjunction with intrathecal morphine for postcesarean analgesia

Allison J Lee, Howard D Palte, Jules Marie A Chehade, Kristopher L Arheart, Jayanthie S Ranasinghe, Donald H Penning
Journal of Clinical Anesthesia 2013, 25 (6): 475-82
24012493

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine whether transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks administered in conjunction with intrathecal morphine provided superior analgesia to intrathecal morphine alone.

DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

SETTING: Operating room of a university hospital.

PATIENTS: 51 women undergoing elective Cesarean delivery with a combined spinal-epidural technique that included intrathecal morphine.

INTERVENTIONS: Subjects were randomized to receive a bilateral TAP block with 0.5% ropivacaine or 0.9% saline. Postoperative analgesics were administered on request and selected based on pain severity.

MEASUREMENTS: Patients were evaluated at 2, 24, and 48 hours after the TAP blocks were performed. Verbal rating scale (VRS) pain scores at rest, with movement, and for colicky pain were recorded, as was analgesic consumption. Patients rated the severity of opioid side effects and their satisfaction with the procedure and analgesia.

MAIN RESULTS: 51 subjects received TAP blocks with ropivacaine (n = 26) or saline (n = 25). At two hours, the ropivacaine group reported less pain at rest and with movement (0.5 and 1.9 vs 2.8 and 4.9 in the saline group [VRS scale 0 - 10]; P < 0.001) and had no requests for analgesics; there were several requests for analgesia in the saline group. At 24 hours, there was no difference in pain scores or analgesic consumption. At 48 hours, the ropivacaine group received more analgesics for moderate pain (P = 0.04) and the saline group received more analgesics for severe pain (P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Transversus abdominis plane blocks in conjunction with intrathecal morphine provided superior early postcesarean analgesia to intrathecal morphine alone. By 24 hours there was no difference in pain scores or analgesic consumption.

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