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The Practice of Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the United States:: A National Survey
  1. Admir Hadžić, M.D.,
  2. Jerry D. Vloka, M.D.,
  3. Max M. Kuroda, M.P.H.,
  4. Robert Koorn, M.D. and
  5. David J. Birnbach, M.D.
  1. From the Department of Anesthesiology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, New York, NY.
  1. Reprint requests: Admir Hadžić, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1111 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025.


Background and Objectives A nationwide survey was conducted in order to describe practice patterns surrounding the use of peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs).

Methods Questionnaires were mailed to 805 anesthesiologists selected systematically from the 1995 ASA and ASRA membership directories. Responses from 409 attending anesthesiologists (response rate 56.5%) were analyzed.

Results While almost all respondents (97.8%) regularly use at least some regional anesthesia techniques in their practices, significantly fewer use PNBs, with most anesthesiologists (59.7%) performing less than five PNBs monthly. Peripheral nerve blocks of the lower extremity (femoral 32%, sciatic 22%, popliteal 11%) were less frequently used than PNB of the upper extremity (axillary 88%, interscalene 61%) (McNemar chi-square test = 215.2; P < .001). Anesthesiologists who rated their training in PNBs as adequate (50.8%) devoted a larger percentage of their practice to PNBs than anesthesiologists who rated their training as inadequate (P = .02). Despite the infrequent use of PNBs, 176 respondents (42.6%) predicted that their use of PNBs would increase in the future.

Conclusions Although this survey indicates that regional anesthesia is frequently practiced in the United States, PNBs and particularly PNBs of the lower extremities remain underutilized.

  • regional anesthesia
  • peripheral nerve block
  • ambulatory anesthesia.

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