Comparative study on the analgesic effect of acute ipsilateral shoulder pain after open thoracotomy between preoperative ultrasound guided suprascapular nerve block (SNB) and intraoperative phrenic nerve infiltration (PNI) in cancer lung patients

Bassel M Elfokery, Sahar A Tawfic, Abdelrahman M Abdelrahman, Dina N Abbas, Ikramy M Abdelghaffar
Journal of the Egyptian National Cancer Institute 2018, 30 (1): 27-31

INTRODUCTION: Acute ipsilateral shoulder pain (ISP) is a common complaint in patients after thoracotomy. The incidence ranges from 21% to 97%. Unfortunately, clinical studies did not put enough focus on ISP post thoracic surgery.

AIM OF THE WORK: This study was designed to compare the effectiveness of suprascapular nerve block (SNB) and phrenic nerve infiltration (PNI) for controlling ISP.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and thirty-five lung cancer patients (135) scheduled for open-lung surgery were randomly allocated into three equal groups; control group: received thoracic epidural with general anesthesia, suprascapular group: (SNB) one hour before the operation with 10 ml bupivacaine plus thoracic epidural with general anesthesia and phrenic nerve group: (PNI) was performed by the operating surgeon with 10 ml bupivacaine plus thoracic epidural with general anesthesia. The visual analogue score (VAS) of ISP, rescue of ketorolac for break through shoulder pain, peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and arterial blood gases were measured every 6 h postoperatively for 48 h.

RESULTS: The VAS, rescue doses of ketorolc and PEFR were significantly lower in the phrenic nerve group (P-value <0.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the three groups postoperatively as regards arterial blood gases (P-value >0.05).

CONCLUSION: PNI is more effective than SNB for ISP.

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