oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - A prospective, randomised comparison of continuous paravertebral block and continuous intercostal nerve block for post-thoracotomy pain : original research
Background : This study aimed to compare paravertebral block and continuous intercostal nerve block after thoracotomy.
Methods : Forty-six adult patients undergoing elective posterolateral thoracotomy were randomised to receive either a continuous intercostal nerve blockade or a paravertebral block. Opioid consumption and postoperative pain were assessed for 48 hours. Pulmonary function was assessed by forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) recorded at 4 hours intervals.
Results : With respect to the objective visual assessment (VAS), both techniques were effective for post thoracotomy pain. The average VAS score at rest was 29±10mm for paravertebral block and 31.5±11mm for continuous intercostal nerve block. The average VAS score on coughing was 36±14mm for the first one and 4 ±14mm for the second group. Pain at rest was similar in both groups. Pain scores on coughing were lower in paravertebral block group at 42 and 48 hours. Post-thoracotomy function was better preserved with paravertebral block. No difference was found among the two groups for side effects related to technique, major morbidity or duration of hospitalisation.
Conclusion : We found that continuous intercostal nerve block and paravertebral block were effective and safe methods for post-thoracotomy pain.
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