Background and objectives Peripheral nerve blocks reduce postoperative pain and enhance recovery after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). This study aims to assess the benefits of addition of intravenous dexmedetomidine (DexM) to intravenous dexamethasone on the analgesic duration of quadruple nerve blocks.
Methods This double-blind, randomized, controlled trial prospectively enrolled 90 patients scheduled for TKA under quadruple nerve blocks (sciatic, femoral, obturator, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves blocks) with 70 mL, 0.32% ropivacaine. All patients received systemic dexamethasone 10 mg. Patients were randomized to receive DexM (2 µg/kg, intravenous) or placebo (1:1 ratio). The primary endpoint was the duration of analgesia defined as the time to first request for rescue analgesia (oxycodone).
Results Kaplan-Meier curves for the first analgesic request were similar between groups (log-rank test; p=0.27). Median (IQR) duration of analgesia was similar between placebo (1575 min (1211–1952)) and DexM (1470 min (1263–1700)) groups (p=0.56). Cumulative consumption of oxycodone at the 48th hour was 20 mg (10–30) and 30 mg (20–40) in placebo and DexM groups, respectively (p=0.14). The day after surgery, 93% and 89% of patients were able to walk in placebo and DexM groups, respectively (p=0.46). Intravenous DexM was associated with bradycardia, hypotension and longer recovery room stay (p<0.05 for all comparisons).
Conclusions In a multimodal analgesic regimen, addition of systemic DexM (2 µg/kg) to systemic dexamethasone does not prolong the analgesic duration of quadruple nerve block with ropivacaine 0.32% after TKA.
Trial registration number NCT03834129.
- nerve block
- pain management
- lower extremity
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