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Intracameral anesthesia for cataract surgery: a population-based study on patient satisfaction and outcome

Authors Westborg I, Mönestam E

Received 11 July 2013

Accepted for publication 1 August 2013

Published 16 October 2013 Volume 2013:7 Pages 2063—2068

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S51409

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Inger Westborg,1,2 Eva Mönestam1

1Department of Clinical Sciences/Ophthalmology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; 2Eye Clinic, Sunderby Hospital, Luleå, Sweden

Purpose: To evaluate if the standard anesthetic regimen – topical combined with intracameral anesthesia without sedation – in a population-based cohort of unselected cataract surgery cases is adequate, optimal, and good practice, or if improvements are necessary.
Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational study on all cases of cataract surgery during a 1-year period at one institution (n=1249). Data were collected from the patients’ records. Outcome measures were use of preoperative sedation, type of anesthesia, complications, and adverse events. In a subgroup of patients (n=124) satisfaction with the anesthetic regimen was evaluated using a short questionnaire.
Results: Most cases (90%, 1125/1249) had combined topical and intracameral anesthesia without sedation. Patients who chose preoperative sedation (midazolam hydrochloride sublingually) were significantly younger and more often female (P=0.0001 and P=0.011, respectively). In the questionnaire subgroup, the median pain score after surgery was 0.7 (visual analog scale, 0–10). A pain score of 1.9 or less was reported by 76% of the patients. Patients reporting a pain score of 2 or more had sedation and additional anesthetics more often. No significant difference was found regarding age, sex, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, first or second eye surgery, or adverse intraoperative events for patients with pain scores of 1.9 or less and 2 or more.
Conclusion: This large population-based series of small-incision phacoemulsification surgery shows that combined topical and intracameral anesthesia without sedatives is well tolerated for most phacoemulsification patients. It is also effective in cases when complications or adverse events occur. It is important to be responsive to the individual patient’s needs and adjust operating procedures if necessary, as there were a few patients who experienced insufficient anesthesia.

Keywords: anesthesia, local/methods, phacoemulsification, cataract extraction, humans, prospective observational studies


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