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Journal: Regional anesthesia and pain medicine


Ketamine infusions have been used for decades to treat acute pain, but a recent surge in usage has made the infusions a mainstay of treatment in emergency departments, in the perioperative period in individuals with refractory pain, and in opioid-tolerant patients. The widespread variability in patient selection, treatment parameters, and monitoring indicates a need for the creation of consensus guidelines.


Over the past 2 decades, the use of intravenous ketamine infusions as a treatment for chronic pain has increased dramatically, with wide variation in patient selection, dosing, and monitoring. This has led to a chorus of calls from various sources for the development of consensus guidelines.


Music medicine is a non-pharmacologic intervention that is virtually harm-free, relatively inexpensive and has been shown to significantly decrease preoperative anxiety. In this study we aim to compare the use of music to midazolam as a preoperative anxiolytic prior to the administration of an ultrasound-guided single-injection peripheral nerve block.


Ultrasound coupling gel may serve as a vector for the spread of bacteria and has been the causative agent for significant health care-associated infections. The purpose of this study was to document existing infection-control procedures and level of contamination present within nonsterile ultrasound gel from several clinical departments at a single institution. A second purpose was to examine the effectiveness of clinician education and manufacturer-based ultrasound additives on ultrasound gel contamination and in vitro bacterial proliferation, respectively.

Concepts: Archaea, Clinical trial, Bacteria, Microbiology, Virus, Prokaryote, Bacterial cell structure, Microorganism


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Local infiltration analgesia (LIA) reduces pain after total knee arthroplasty without the motor blockade associated with epidural analgesia or femoral nerve block. However, the duration and efficacy of LIA are not sufficient. A saphenous nerve block, in addition to single-dose LIA, may improve analgesia without interfering with early mobilization. METHODS: Forty patients were included in this double-blind randomized controlled trial. All patients received spinal anesthesia for surgery and single-dose LIA during the operation. An ultrasound-guided saphenous nerve catheter was placed postoperatively in the adductor canal at midthigh level. Patients were randomized into 2 groups to receive 15-mL boluses of either ropivacaine 7.5 mg/mL or saline twice daily for 2 postoperative days. RESULTS: Worst pain scores during movement on the day of surgery were significantly lower in the ropivacaine group (median [range] visual analog scale, 3 [0-7] vs 5.5 [0-10]; P < 0.050), as well as pain at rest (visual analog scale, 2 [0-8] vs 4 [0-8]; P = 0.032). Breakthrough pain occurred later in the ropivacaine group (10.5 [range, 0.5-48] hours vs 3.4 [range, 0.5-24] hours; P = 0.011). All patients in the ropivacaine group were able to ambulate on the day of surgery versus 13 patients in the control group (P = 0.004). Fewer patients had sleep disturbance on the first postoperative night in the ropivacaine group (P = 0.038). We found no differences in morphine consumption. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of a saphenous nerve block with single-dose LIA offered better pain relief on the day of surgery than LIA alone.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Anesthesia, Pain, Morphine, Epidural, Fentanyl, Saphenous nerve, Adductor canal


We describe a new approach to blocking the sciatic and saphenous nerves in the proximal thigh (level of the lesser trochanter or immediately below) using a single-penetration dual-injection (SPEDI) technique. The popliteal-sciatic approach necessitates repositioning of the leg exposing the popliteal fossa and an extra injection for the saphenous nerve (SAN) block at the midthigh level. We introduce an alternative, effective, and possibly faster method.

Concepts: Muscle, Popliteal fossa, Fossa


BACKGROUND: Historically, the anterolateral interscalene block-deposition of local anesthetic adjacent to the brachial plexus roots/trunks-has been used for surgical procedures involving the shoulder. The resulting block frequently failed to provide surgical anesthesia of the hand and forearm, even though the brachial plexus at this level included all of the axons of the upper-extremity terminal nerves. However, it remains unknown whether deposition of local anesthetic adjacent to the seventh cervical root or inferior trunk results in anesthesia of the hand and forearm. METHODS: Using ultrasound guidance and a needle-in-plane posterior approach, a Tuohy needle was positioned with the tip located between the deepest and next-deepest visualized brachial plexus root/trunk, followed by injection of mepivacaine (1.5%). Grip strength and the tolerance to cutaneous electrical current in 5 terminal nerve distributions were measured at baseline and then every 5 minutes following injection for a total of 30 minutes. The primary end point was the proportion of cases in which the interscalene nerve block resulted in a decrease in grip strength of at least 90% and hand and forearm anesthesia (tolerance to >50 mA of current in all 5 terminal nerve distributions) within 30 minutes. The primary hypothesis was that a single-injection interscalene brachial plexus block produces a similar rate of anesthesia of the hand and forearm to the published success rate of 95% for other brachial plexus block approaches. RESULTS: Of 55 subjects with blocks placed per protocol, all had a successful block of the shoulder as defined by inability to abduct at the shoulder joint. Thirty-three subjects had measurements at 30 minutes following local anesthetic deposition, and only 5 (15%) of these subjects had a surgical block of the hand and forearm (P < 0.0001; 95% confidence interval, 6%-33%). We therefore reject the hypothesis that the interscalene block as performed in this study provides equivalent anesthesia to the hand and forearm compared with other brachial plexus block techniques. Block failures of the hand and forearm were due to inadequate cutaneous anesthesia of the ulnar (n = 27; 82%), median (n = 26; 78%), or radial (n = 22; 67%) distributions; the medial forearm (n = 25; 76%); and/or the lateral forearm (n = 14; 42%). Failure to achieve at least a 90% reduction in grip strength occurred in 16 subjects (48%). CONCLUSIONS: This study did not find evidence to support the hypothesis that local anesthetic injected adjacent to the deepest brachial plexus roots/trunks reliably results in surgical anesthesia of the hand and forearm.

Concepts: Surgery, Anesthesia, Local anesthesia, Forearm, Ulnar nerve, Local anesthetic, Brachial plexus, Nerve block


Sciatic nerve block provides analgesia after foot and ankle surgery, but block duration may be insufficient. We hypothesized that perineural dexamethasone and buprenorphine would reduce pain scores at 24 hours.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Opioid


The erector spinae plane (ESP) and retrolaminar blocks are ultrasound-guided techniques for thoracoabdominal wall analgesia involving injection into the musculofascial plane between the paraspinal back muscles and underlying thoracic vertebrae. The ESP block targets the tips of the transverse processes, whereas the retrolaminar block targets the laminae. We investigated if there were differences in injectate spread between the 2 techniques that would have implications for their clinical effect.


Chronic neuropathic pain is a common challenging condition following amputation. Recent research demonstrated the feasibility of percutaneously implanting fine-wire coiled peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) leads in proximity to the sciatic and femoral nerves for postamputation pain. A multicenter, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study collected data on the safety and effectiveness of percutaneous PNS for chronic neuropathic pain following amputation.