Introduction: Supraclavicular brachial plexus block provides consistently effective anesthesia to the upper extremity. However, traditional nerve localization techniques may be associated with a high risk of pneumothorax. In the present study, we report block success and clinical outcome data from 510 consecutive patients who received an ultrasound-guided supraclavicular block for upper extremity surgery.
Methods: After institutional review board approval, the outcome of 510 consecutive patients who received an ultrasound-guided supraclavicular block for upper extremity surgery was reviewed. Real-time ultrasound guidance was used with a high-frequency linear probe. The neurovascular structures were imaged on short axis, and the needle was inserted using an in-plane technique with either a medial-to-lateral or lateral-to-medial orientation.
Results: Five hundred ten ultrasound-guided supraclavicular blocks were performed (50 inpatients, 460 outpatients) by 47 different operators at different levels of training over a 24-month period. Successful surgical anesthesia was achieved in 94.6% of patients after a single attempt; 2.8% required local anesthetic supplementation of a single peripheral nerve territory; and 2.6% received an unplanned general anesthetic. No cases of clinically symptomatic pneumothorax developed. Complications included symptomatic hemidiaphragmatic paresis (1%), Horner syndrome (1%), unintended vascular punctures (0.4%), and transient sensory deficits (0.4%).
Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided supraclavicular block is associated with a high rate of successful surgical anesthesia and a low rate of complications and thus may be a safe alternative for both inpatients and outpatients. Severe underlying respiratory disease and coagulopathy should remain a contraindication for this brachial plexus approach.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Presented in part at the ASA Annual Meeting; October 2007; San Francisco, CA.