Is Local Infiltration Analgesia Superior to Peripheral Nerve Blockade for Pain Management After THA: A Network Meta-analysis

José H Jiménez-Almonte, Cody C Wyles, Saranya P Wyles, German A Norambuena-Morales, Pedro J Báez, Mohammad H Murad, Rafael J Sierra
Clinical Orthopaedics and related Research 2016, 474 (2): 495-516

BACKGROUND: Local infiltration analgesia and peripheral nerve blocks are common methods for pain management in patients after THA but direct head-to-head, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have not been performed. A network meta-analysis allows indirect comparison of individual treatments relative to a common comparator; in this case placebo (or no intervention), epidural analgesia, and intrathecal morphine, yielding an estimate of comparative efficacy.

QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: We asked, when compared with a placebo, (1) does use of local infiltration analgesia reduce patient pain scores and opioid consumption, (2) does use of peripheral nerve blocks reduce patient pain scores and opioid consumption, and (3) is local infiltration analgesia favored over peripheral nerve blocks for postoperative pain management after THA?

METHODS: We searched six databases, from inception through June 30, 2014, to identify RCTs comparing local infiltration analgesia or peripheral nerve block use in patients after THA. A total of 35 RCTs at low risk of bias based on the recommended Cochrane Collaboration risk assessment tool were included in the network meta-analysis (2296 patients). Primary outcomes for this review were patient pain scores at rest and cumulative opioid consumption, both assessed at 24 hours after THA. Because of substantial heterogeneity (variation of outcomes between studies) across included trials, a random effect model for meta-analysis was used to estimate the weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% CI. The gray literature was searched with the same inclusion criteria as published trials. Only one unpublished trial (published abstract) fulfilled our criteria and was included in this review. All other studies included in this systematic review were full published articles. Bayesian network meta-analysis included all RCTs that compared local infiltration analgesia or peripheral nerve blocks with placebo (or no intervention), epidural analgesia, and intrathecal morphine.

RESULTS: Compared with placebo, local infiltration analgesia reduced patient pain scores (WMD, -0.61; 95% CI, -0.97 to -0.24; p = 0.001) and opioid consumption (WMD, -7.16 mg; 95% CI, -11.98 to -2.35; p = 0.004). Peripheral nerve blocks did not result in lower pain scores or reduced opioid consumption compared with placebo (WMD, -0.43; 95% CI, -0.99 to 0.12; p = 0.12 and WMD, -3.14 mg, 95% CI, -11.30 to 5.02; p = 0.45). However, network meta-analysis comparing local infiltration analgesia with peripheral nerve blocks through common comparators showed no differences between postoperative pain scores (WMD, -0.36; 95% CI, -1.06 to 0.31) and opioid consumption (WMD, -4.59 mg; 95% CI, -9.35 to 0.17), although rank-order analysis found local infiltration analgesia to be ranked first in more simulations than peripheral nerve blocks, suggesting that it may be more effective.

CONCLUSIONS: Using the novel statistical network meta-analysis approach, we found no differences between local infiltration analgesia and peripheral nerve blocks in terms of analgesia or opioid consumption 24 hours after THA; there was a suggestion of a slight advantage to peripheral nerve blocks based on rank-order analysis, but the effect size in question is likely not large. Given the slight difference between interventions, clinicians may choose to focus on other factors such as cost and intervention-related complications when debating which analgesic treatment to use after THA.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level I, therapeutic study.


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