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Peripheral nerve blocks versus general anesthesia for total knee replacement in elderly patients on the postoperative quality of recovery

Authors Liu J, Yuan W, Wang X, Royse C, Gong M, Zhao Y, Zhang H, Wang M, Maowei G

Received 17 October 2013

Accepted for publication 16 November 2013

Published 18 February 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 341—350


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

JunLe Liu,1,* WeiXiu Yuan,1,* XiaoLin Wang,1,* Colin F Royse,2,3 MaoWei Gong,1 Ying Zhao,1 Hong Zhang1

1Anesthesia and Operation Center, Chinese People's Liberation Army General Hospital and Medical School of Chinese People's Liberation Army, Beijing, People's Republic of China; 2Anesthesia and Pain Management Unit, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 3Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Both peripheral nerve blocks with sedation or general anesthesia can be used for total knee replacement surgery.
Objectives: We compared these anesthetic techniques on the postoperative quality of recovery early in elderly patients.
Materials and methods: In our study, 213 patients who were ≥65 years old and undergoing total knee replacement were randomized to peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs) – lumbar plexus and sciatic – with propofol sedation, or general anesthesia with combined propofol and remifentanil. Blocks were performed using nerve stimulation and 0.35% ropivacaine. All patients received postoperative multimodal analgesia. Postoperative recovery was assessed at 15 minutes, 40 minutes, 1 day, 3 days, and 7 days after surgery, with the Postoperative Quality of Recovery Scale, in physiological, nociceptive, emotive, modified activities of daily living, modified cognitive, and overall patient perspective domains.
Results: Intraoperative blood pressure and heart rate were more stable with PNBs (P<0.001). The recovery was better with PNBs in physiological (P<0.001), emotive (depression and anxiety) (P<0.001), nociceptive (pain and nausea) (P<0.001), modified cognitive (P<0.001), and all domains recovery (P<0.001), but not in activities of daily living (P=0.181). Intraoperative drugs and the postoperative sulfentanil requirement of the PNBs group were lower (all P<0.001). Differences were greatest early after surgery with equivalence by 1 week. Satisfaction was high and not different between groups (P=0.059).
Conclusion: Lumbar plexus and sciatic blocks with sedation facilitates faster postoperative recovery than general anesthesia, but not at 1 week after total knee replacement in patients who were 65 years or older. The trial has been registered at (NCT01871012).

Keywords: nerve block, general anesthesia, knee replacement, perioperative care

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