Background and Objectives: We assessed the feasibility and efficacy of postoperative pain control by continuous peripheral nerve blockade (CPNB) in children after early home discharge under parental surveillance.
Methods: All children scheduled for primary elective ankle or foot surgery under sciatic popliteal CPNB and general anesthesia were evaluated. After obtaining the surgeon's consent, the children were discharged on either the day (D) of surgery (D0), or on postoperative D1 or D2 (depending on whether they needed a plaster cast or a suction drainage). The CPNB was continuously infused, using an elastomeric pump. Before the procedure, the parents were taught how to assess their children's pain, to use rescue analgesia, and to manage an infusion elastomeric pump device, and when to call the hospital in case of emergency. The children returned to the hospital for catheter removal and the recording of any postoperative event.
Results: Forty-seven children were entered into this observational study. Two were discharged home on the same day, 30 were discharged home 1 day after surgery, and 15 were discharged home 2 days after surgery. The mean duration of infusion elastomeric pump at home was 3 days (range, 2 to 4 days). Analgesia was rated as excellent or good in 89% of the cases, and the quality of sleep was always good, except for three patients. Some minor untoward effects were recorded. Two children returned to the hospital because of accidental disconnection of the infusion elastomeric pump from the catheter. Four patients presented skin redness at the puncture site, but no infection was observed, and all catheters remained sterile. No parents called the hospital. The children's quality of life was rated as excellent or as satisfactory overall, by both the children and their parents.
Conclusions: Shortening hospital stays with the use of at-home CPNB under sole parental supervision is feasible, after selecting children with a suitable family environment.
- Postoperative analgesia
- Ambulatory surgery
- Peripheral nerve blockade
- Local anesthetics
- Continuous analgesia
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Reprint requests: Jean-Marc Malinovsky, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, American Memorial Hospital, Hôpital Maison Blanche, F-51092 Reims, France. E-mail: