Does interscalene catheter placement with stimulating catheters improve postoperative pain or functional outcome after shoulder surgery? A prospective, randomized and double-blinded trial

Markus F. Stevens, Robert Werdehausen, Elisabeth Golla, Sebastian Braun, Henning Hermanns, Ansgar Ilg, Reinhardt Willers, Peter Lipfert

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BACKGROUND: In this prospective, randomized, double-blind trial we investigated the use of stimulating catheters in patients during and after shoulder surgery; functional improvement being the primary outcome measurement. METHODS: After eliciting an adequate muscular twitch at <or =0.5 mA nerve stimulation output, the perineural catheter was advanced either blindly (conventional catheter = CC group, n = 20) or guided by stimulation via the catheter (stimulating catheter = SC group, n = 20). A bolus of 40 mL prilocaine 1% and 10 mL ropivacaine 0.75% was injected, followed by a patient-controlled infusion of ropivacaine 0.2% (8 mL/h infusion rate, bolus 2 mL, lockout time 20 min). RESULTS: Onset of motor block was faster in the SC group, whereas sensory block did not differ between groups. Median pain scores on two postoperative days were equal. Improvement of the objective shoulder function score (Constant Murley Score) 6 wk postoperatively was enhanced to a clinically relevant extent in the SC group compared to the CC group (P <0.01). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the use of a stimulating catheter results in a faster onset of motor block, unaltered postoperative pain, and a significantly improved functional outcome 6 wk after shoulder surgery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-447
JournalAnesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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