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A double-blind randomized controlled trial comparing dexamethasone and clonidine as adjuvants to a ropivacaine sciatic popliteal block for foot surgery

Authors Vermeylen K, De Puydt J, Engelen S, Roofthooft E, Soetens F, Neyrinck A, Van de Velde M

Received 10 September 2015

Accepted for publication 20 February 2016

Published 5 May 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 17—24


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Stefan Wirz

Kris Vermeylen,1 Joris De Puydt,2 Stefan Engelen,3 Eva Roofthooft,3 Filiep Soetens,1 Arne Neyrinck,4 Marc Van de Velde4

1Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, AZ Turnhout, Turnhout, 2Department of Anesthesia, University Hospital Antwerp, Antwerp, 3Department of Anesthesia, ZNA Hospital Network Antwerp, Antwerp, 4Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Anesthesiology, Catholic University Hospitals, Louvain, Belgium

Background and aims: A popliteal block is effective in managing postoperative pain for foot surgery, but since the duration of analgesia is limited following a single-shot popliteal fossa block technique, methods to prolong effective postoperative analgesia are mandatory. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of adjuvants to ropivacaine on the duration of sensory and motor block.
Methods: In this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study, we evaluated the analgesic effect of clonidine or dexamethasone (DXM) when added to ropivacaine for hallux valgus surgery. After obtaining institutional ethics research board approval and written informed consent, a total of 72 patients were randomly allocated. Fifty-seven of these patients were statistically analyzed. All patients received an ultrasound-guided single-shot popliteal fossa block with 30 mL of ropivacaine 0.75%, supplemented with saline, clonidine 100 µg, or DXM 5 mg. The primary end point was time to first pain sensation. Secondary end points were time to complete sensory and motor block regression.
Results: Compared to saline, duration to first pain sensation was prolonged by 9 hours (mean ± standard deviation: 31±9 hours) (42%) in the DXM group (P=0.024) and by 6 hours (28±10 hours) (27%) in the clonidine group (P=0.024). Compared to saline, DXM prolonged both complete sensory and motor blockade by 12 hours (25±7 hours) (46%) and 13 hours (36±6 hours) (55%), respectively, while clonidine prolonged complete sensory and motor blockade by 7 hours (30±7 hours) (27%) and 2 hours (22±5 hours) (10%), respectively. DXM prolonged sensory block regression time by 6 hours (21±7 hours) (41%) and clonidine by 2 hours (17±6 hours) (13%) compared to the control group (P=0.006). Similarly, DXM prolonged motor block regression by 7 hours (25±7 hours) (46%) and clonidine by 4 hours (21±4 hours) (19%) (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Addition of DXM and clonidine to ropivacaine significantly prolonged the duration of postoperative sensory and motor block.

Keywords: popliteal block, hallux valgus, steroids, regional anesthesia, dexamethasone, clonidine

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