Background and Aims The COVID-19 pandemic brought an increase in the use of regional anaesthesia (RA) in an effort to avoid aerosol generating procedures. We conducted a survey among patients, anaesthetists and orthopaedic surgeons to find their views about RA during and after the pandemic and whether the pandemic has changed their perception about RA.
Methods A 7 question survey (figure 1) regarding preferences of anaesthetic technique and satisfaction was filled by patients who had surgery under RA during the pandemic, anaesthetists and surgeons in a single specialist Orthopaedic centre.
Results We got responses from 147 patients,25 surgeons and 32 anaesthetists. Overall, the RA preference among patients increased from 43.53% to 85%, among surgeons from 28% to 56% and from 75% to 78.12% among anaesthetists (figure 2,3). RA acceptance increased by 24% among patients with previous surgical experience under RA, and 52% among patients with no prior experience. The highest increase was seen after blocks followed by spinal ± blocks. The main reasons for RA scepticism among patients were anxiety about being awake and feeling pain, tendency to leave it to the patient decision and unpredictable success of RA among surgeons and anaesthetists.
Conclusions Previous exposure to RA techniques increases the acceptance by patients and surgeons in the future. Anxiety about being awake/feeling pain among patients can be mitigated by reassurance and counselling during the preoperative visit. A focus on upskilling non-RA anaesthetists on high valuable Plan A blocks should be encouraged These points should be utilised to increase RA use after the pandemic as well.
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