Background and Aims Chest wall trauma is a notorious anaesthetic challenge and high opioid analgesia requirements, hypoventilation, hypostatic pneumonia and respiratory failure are common complications. Regional anaesthesia (RA) techniques have emerged as good adjuncts to reduce opioid consumption. In this study we describe the demographic and outcome data of patients that have received RA for analgesic management of chest wall trauma.
Methods We retrospectively collected data from electronic health records on all patients with chest wall trauma who received RA techniques following acute pain team referral from October 2018 to August 2022.
Results We reviewed data from 187 patients. Mean age was 64.25 years, median fracture burden of 7 per patient, with 47 patients presenting with bilateral fractures and 88 having a flail segment (table 1). Of these patients, 131 received an erector spinae plane (ESP) block and 43 had serratus anterior plane (SAP) block with median block duration of 4 days. Twenty-two patients required high flow nasal oxygen at 24h of admission and 149 required critical care admission with 43 needing invasive ventilation and a median length of stay of 5 days (table 2). RA significantly reduced opioid consumption in 24 hours after procedure (20mg vs 14mg, p<0.01, figure 1) and 168 patients survived to hospital discharge.
Conclusions The patient cohort presented had a high burden of chest wall injury and need for critical care resources. Our analysis demonstrated reduction in opioid consumption following RA techniques. Given the potential deleterious effects of opioid analgesia, RA should be offered to patients with significant chest wall trauma.
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