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A prospective, double-blinded, randomized comparison of ultrasound-guided femoral nerve block with lateral femoral cutaneous nerve block versus standard anesthetic management for pain control during and after traumatic femur fracture repair in the pediatric population

Authors Elsey NM, Tobias JD, Klingele KE, Beltran RJ, Bhalla T, Martin D, Veneziano G, Rice J, Tumin D

Received 7 April 2017

Accepted for publication 14 June 2017

Published 4 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2177—2182


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Nicole M Elsey,1 Joseph D Tobias,1–3 Kevin E Klingele,4 Ralph J Beltran,1,2 Tarun Bhalla,1,2 David Martin,1,2 Giorgio Veneziano,1,2 Julie Rice,1,2 Dmitry Tumin1,2

1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, 2The Ohio State University, 3Department of Pediatrics, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, 4Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Background: Traumatic injury of the femur resulting in femoral fracture may result in significant postoperative pain. As with other causes of acute pain, regional anesthesia may offer a benefit over conventional therapy with intravenous opioids. This study prospectively assesses the effects of femoral nerve blockade with a lateral femoral cutaneous nerve block (FN-LFCN) on intraoperative anesthetic requirements, postoperative pain scores, and opioid requirements.
Materials and methods: Seventeen pediatric patients (age 2–18 years) undergoing surgical repair of a traumatic femur fracture fulfilled the study criteria and were randomly assigned to general anesthesia with either an FN-LFCN block (n = 10) or intravenous opioids (n = 7). All patients received a general anesthetic with isoflurane for maintenance anesthesia during the surgical repair of the femur fracture. Patients randomized to the FN-LFCN block group received ultrasound-guided nerve blockade using ropivacaine (0.2%/0.5% based on patient weight). At the conclusion of surgery, the airway device was removed once tracheal extubation criteria were achieved, and patients were transported to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) for recovery and assessment of pain by a blinded study nurse.
Results: The final study cohort included 17 patients (n = 10 for FN-LFCN block group; n = 7 for the intravenous opioid group). Although the median of the maximum postoperative pain scores in the regional group was 0, this did not reach statistical significance when compared to the median pain score of 3 in the intravenous opioid group. Likewise, no difference between the two groups was noted when comparing intraoperative anesthetic requirements, opioid requirements (intraoperative, in the post-anesthesia recovery room, and in the inpatient ward), and the time to first opioid requirement postoperatively in the inpatient ward.
Conclusion: This prospective, randomized, double-blinded study failed to demonstrate a clear benefit of regional anesthesia over intravenous opioids intraoperatively and postoperatively during repair of femoral shaft fractures in the pediatric population.

Keywords: pediatric, femur fracture repair, femoral nerve block 

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