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Survey of Regional Anesthetic Practice Among French Residents at Time of Certification
  1. H. Bouaziz,
  2. F. J. Mercier,
  3. P. Narchi,
  4. M. Poupard,
  5. Y. Auroy and
  6. D. Benhamou
  1. Department of Anesthesiology, Hôpital Antoine-Béclère, Clamart Cedex, France
  1. Reprint requests: Hervé Bouaziz, M.D., Département d' Anesthésie, Hôpital Antoine-Béclère, 157, rue de la Porte de Trivaux, 92141 Clamart Cedex, France.


Background and Objectives A survey of anesthesia practice was conducted among French residents in anesthesia at the end of their training. This study was performed mainly to evaluate the residents' experience in peripheral nerve blocks.

Methods Two short clinical cases were proposed to all French residents during a telephone interview immediately before their certification. The first described the case of a young asthmatic patient admitted for an elbow fracture. The second described an elderly woman with severe aortic stenosis admitted for a supracondylar fracture of the femur. A questionnaire had been prepared and was filled in during the interview. Each resident was asked to answer according to the actual choice he or she would have made. For both cases, when general anesthesia was chosen first, the next question was to discuss which regional anesthesia would be used if general anesthesia had to be discarded. In that way, the practical knowledge about most common peripheral nerve blocks learned during residency was investigated.

Results Of 77 residents registered as being at the end of their residency, 8 were on either sabbatical or maternity leave. Regional anesthesia was the first choice in 78% and 57% of cases for the first and second clinical cases, respectively. The regional anesthetic techniques chosen were axillary block (66%), interscalene block (31%), and intravenous regional anesthesia (3%) for case 1 and combined lumbar plexus and sciatic block (36%), epidural anesthesia (30%), singleshot spinal anesthesia (18%), and continuous spinal anesthesia (16%) for case 2. Throughout the residency of the group, 32 ± 2 axillary blocks, 12 ± 2 interscalene blocks (axillary vs interscalene, P < .0001), 21 ± 3 femoral blocks, and 10 ± 2 sciatic blocks (femoral vs sciatic, P < .0001) had been performed (mean ± SEM). They had also performed 2.5 ± 0.5 continuous spinal anesthesias and 17 ± 3 intravenous regional anesthesias respectively. Upper extremity blocks were more often used during residency than lower extremity blocks (44 ± 3 vs 31 ± 4, P < .01). A peripheral nerve stimulator was routinely used by 83% of residents.

Conclusion French residents in anesthesiology at time of certification are better trained for peripheral nerve blocks of the upper extremity than for those of the lower extremity. Axillary plexus and femoral nerve block are the most widely used blocks, probably reflecting the techniques the most mastered among teachers. Finally, the extensive use of a peripheral nerve stimulator by residents is probably the result of the widespread use of this device by teachers in France.

  • peripheral nerve block
  • French residency training
  • axillary block
  • interscalene block
  • femoral nerve block
  • sciatic nerve block

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