Prospective double blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of the pectoral nerves (Pecs) block type II

Barbara Versyck, Geert-Jan van Geffen, Patrick Van Houwe
Journal of Clinical Anesthesia 2017, 40: 46-50

STUDY OBJECTIVE: The aim of this clinical trial was to test the hypothesis whether adding the pectoral nerves (Pecs) block type II to the anesthetic procedure reduces opioid consumption during and after breast surgery.

DESIGN: A prospective randomized double blind placebo-controlled study.

SETTING: A secondary hospital.

PATIENTS: 140 breast cancer stage 1-3 patients undergoing mastectomy or tumorectomy with sentinel node or axillary node dissection.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized to receive either a Pecs block with levobupivacaine 0.25% (n=70) or placebo block with saline (n=70).

MEASUREMENTS: The pain levels were evaluated by Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) pain scores at 15-minute intervals during the post anesthesia care unit stay time (PACU), at 2-hour intervals for the first 24h on the ward and at 4-hour intervals for the next 24h. Intraoperative and postoperative opioid consumption were recorded during the full stay. Patient satisfaction was evaluated upon discharge using a 10-point scale.

MAIN RESULTS: Intraoperative sufentanil requirements were comparable for the Pecs and placebo group (8.0±3.5μg and 7.8±3.0μg, P=0.730). Patients in the Pecs group experienced significantly less pain than patients in the control group (P=0.048) during their PACU stay. Furthermore, patients in the Pecs group required significant less postoperative opioids (9.16±10.15mg and 14.97±14.38mg morphine equivalent, P=0.037) and required significant fewer postsurgical opioid administration interventions than patients in the control group (P=0.045). Both patient-groups were very satisfied about their management (9.6±0.6 and 9.1±1.8 on a 10-point scale, P=0.211).

CONCLUSIONS: The Pecs block reduces postsurgical opioid consumption during the PACU stay time for patients undergoing breast surgery.

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