Background and Aims Regional anaesthesia (RA) is an accepted analgesic and anaesthetic technique in orthopaedic surgery but some barriers remain surrounding its use in trauma. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether RA provides added benefits over general anaesthetic (GA) alone in a trauma setting.
Methods All patients undergoing wrist open reduction and internal fixation procedures in a teaching hospital between April 2020 and October 2021 were entered into an Excel database. Demographics, theatre timings, type of anaesthesia and post-operative analgesia were collected. Statistical analysis was carried out using the two-tailed T-test.
Results In a total of 90 patients, post- operative opioid requirements were reduced by 13 mg of morphine equivalence (p= 0.003) when using RA over GA, whilst the anaesthetic time was increased by only 10 mins (p= 0.018) when using RA. Time in recovery was 30 minutes less for the RA group (p=0.06). There was no overall difference in total anaesthetic and surgical time, nor a difference in length of stay.
Conclusions As we emerge from a global pandemic, hospitals continue to struggle for bed capacity. With RA in wrist trauma reducing post-operative opioid requirements significantly, as well as, reducing time in recovery, with only a minimal increase in anaesthetic time, there is evidence that this can be beneficial to patient flow. Further studies using larger patient cohorts are needed to fully explore the benefits of RA over GA in a trauma setting.
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