The progression of sensory blockade in the hand following a forearm Bier block with ropivacaine is currently unknown. The hands of 10 healthy adult human subjects were anesthetized with ropivacaine, and their sensitivities to cold and touch were tested until the completion of anesthesia. On average, insensitivity to cold occurred uniformly throughout the hand within 9 mins; however, touch sensation was not complete until approximately 20 mins after injection. The spread of anesthesia occurred in a semisystematic way, spreading proximally and distally from the site of injection (mid-dorsum of the hand), and, at a slower rate, from the dorsum of the hand to the palm.
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The research described in this article was supported by National Institutes of Health grant 2R01NS061304-21.