The effect of perineural dexamethasone on duration of sciatic nerve blockade: a randomized, double-blind study

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DOI

  • R. W. Hauritz, Kolding Hospital
  • ,
  • K. E. Hannig, Kolding Hospital
  • ,
  • C. W. Henriksen, Kolding Hospital
  • ,
  • J. Børglum, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • S. Bjørn
  • T. F. Bendtsen

Background: Major hindfoot and ankle surgery is associated with severe postoperative pain, which is effectively alleviated by combined sciatic and saphenous nerve blockade. Local anaesthetics with added dexamethasone consistently prolongs the duration of pain relief compared to local anaesthetics alone. However, whether the extended duration of pain relief is due to an effect on duration of sensorimotor block per se vs. systemic absorption of the dexamethasone is still not fully elucidated. We aimed to investigate the postoperative duration of sensorimotor blockade with either dexamethasone or saline added to bupivacaine-epinephrine. Methods: Fifty six patients scheduled for surgery were randomly assigned to a popliteal sciatic nerve block of 18 ml 0.5% bupivacaine-epinephrine with either 2 ml of 0.4% dexamethasone or 2 ml 0.9% normal saline added. Sensory and motor functions were tested every 30 min until normalized nerve functions. Primary outcome was time until complete return of sensorimotor functions. Results: Mean (SD) time until return of normal sensory and motor functions was 26 (6) vs. 16 (4) hours, P < 0.001, postponing block remission by 10 (95% CI: 8–13) hours. Mean (SD) time until first opioid request was 34 (11) vs. 15 (7) hours, P < 0.001, extending first opioid request by 19 (95% CI: 13–25) hours. Total oral morphine equivalents administered 0–48 h differed significantly between the two groups by 39 (95% CI: 23–55) mg. Conclusions: Addition of 8 mg dexamethasone to 0.5% bupivacaine-epinephrine significantly prolongs the duration of sensorimotor popliteal sciatic nerve blockade, and reduces pain and opioid consumption in patients after major hind foot and ankle surgery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Volume62
Issue4
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
ISSN0001-5172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

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