Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Trends in the Use of Regional Anesthesia: Neuraxial and Peripheral Nerve Blocks
  1. Crispiana Cozowicz, MD*,,
  2. Jashvant Poeran, MD, PhD,
  3. Nicole Zubizarreta, MPH,
  4. Madhu Mazumdar, PhD and
  5. Stavros G. Memtsoudis, MD, PhD*,,§
  1. *Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY
  2. Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care Medicine, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
  3. Institute for Healthcare Delivery Science, Department of Population Health Science & Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  4. §Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY
  1. Address correspondence to: Stavros G. Memtsoudis, MD, PhD, Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021 (e-mail: memtsoudiss{at}


Background A growing body of evidence indicates that the use of regional anesthesia offers advantages over general anesthesia, not only in terms of reducing complications but also regarding resource utilization and patient satisfaction. Because of the paucity of data on the nationwide adoption of regional anesthesia techniques, we aimed to elucidate trends in the use of neuraxial anesthesia (NA) and peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs) in orthopedic surgeries.

Methods We extracted data from N = 959,257 (Premier Perspective database; 2006–2013) total hip and knee arthroplasties (THA, TKA) and assessed NA/PNB use by a 2-year period, stratified by demographics and hospital factors. Cochran-Armitage trend tests assessed significance of trends.

Results Comparing 2006–2007 with 2012–2013, NA utilization decreased slightly from 21.7% to 19.7% for THA patients; this was 24.7% to 21.3% for TKA patients (with the main drop between 2012 and 2013). Conversely, PNB utilization increased from 6.5% to 8.7% for THA patients and 10.3% to 20.4% for TKA patients (all P < 0.001). These general trends did not change when stratified by patient demographics, whereas stratification by hospital factors did show differences: the highest NA utilization was seen in rural, nonteaching, and small hospitals, whereas the highest PNB utilization was seen in large and teaching hospitals.

Conclusions Our findings provide important insight into the dynamics of the adoption of regional anesthetic techniques. Whereas PNB utilization is significantly increasing, overall, NA and PNBs are performed in the minority of cases. With accumulating evidence in favor of regional anesthesia, promoting the use of NA and a further increase in PNB utilization could have far-reaching medical and economic implications.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

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.


  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.