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Background and Aims The Superior Trunk Block (STB) is being considered as an alternative to Interscalene Block (ISB) for shoulder arthroscopy. This study aims to compare efficacy and safety between these techniques.
Methods PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and Cochrane were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the STB to the ISB for shoulder arthroscopies. Outcomes assessed included incidence and extent of hemidiaphragmatic paralysis, pain scores, opioid consumption, patient satisfaction, block duration, and block-related complications. RevMan 5.4 analyzed data. Risk of bias was appraised using the RoB-2 tool.
Results We analyzed 4 RCTs involving 359 patients, of whom 49.5% underwent STB. The results showed that STB resulted in less total hemidiaphragmatic paralysis (figure 2), less subjective dyspnea (figure 3) and lower incidence of Horner’s Syndrome (RR 0.06; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.32; p < 0.001; I2 = 0%, 3 RCTs, 221 patients). No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups for other outcomes, except for pain score at rest at 24h, which was favorable to STB (MD -0.75; 95% CI -1.35 to -0.15; p = 0.01). However, we should consider the clinical relevance of this difference. Our study represents the largest sample size available comparing these techniques, and our results indicate that probably there was enough statistical power for the majority of outcomes analyzed.
Conclusions Our findings suggest that STB is safer than ISB, as it results in a lower incidence and extent of hemidiaphragmatic paralysis, while demonstrating similar block efficacy.
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