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Preoperative ultrasound-guided multilevel paravertebral blocks reduce the incidence of postmastectomy chronic pain: a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial

Authors Qian B, Fu S, Yao Y, Lin D, Huang L

Received 9 October 2018

Accepted for publication 3 January 2019

Published 5 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 597—603


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Bin Qian,1,* Shiwei Fu,2,* Yusheng Yao,3,4 Daoyi Lin,3 Li Huang3

1Department of Anesthesiology, People’s Hospital Affiliated to Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian, China; 2Department of Pathology, Union Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China; 3Department of Anesthesiology, Shengli Clinical Medical College of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China; 4Department of Anesthesiology, Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fuzhou, Fujian, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Chronic postsurgical pain is a challenging problem after breast cancer surgery. This prospective, randomized, double-blinded, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the influence of preoperative ultrasound-guided multilevel paravertebral blocks (PVBs) on chronic pain following mastectomy.
Patients and methods: One hundred eighty-four women were randomized to receive ultrasound-guided multilevel (T1–T5) PVBs with 5  mL of ropivacaine 0.5% or normal saline per level. The primary end point was the incidence of chronic pain at 3 months following mastectomy assessed by the brief pain inventory (BPI), while the secondary end points were the acute postoperative pain, the number of patients requiring rescue analgesia, postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), side effects, and chronic pain at 6 months after surgery assessed by the BPI.
Results: A total of 172 patients completed the study. Ultrasound-guided multilevel PVBs significantly decreased immediate postoperative pain for the first 12 hours (P<0.001). Additionally, fewer patients in the PVB group required rescue analgesia in the first 48 hours postoperatively compared to the control group (5/86 vs 28/86, OR =0.128, 95% CI: 0.047–0.351, P<0.001). No statistically significant difference was tested between the two groups (9.3% vs 17.4%, OR =0.419, 95% CI: 0.162–1.087, P=0.068) in the incidence of PONV. At 3 months, the incidence of chronic pain (BPI average pain score ≥3) was 34.5% and 51.2% (OR =0.511, 95% CI: 0.277–0.944, P=0.031) in the PVB and control groups, respectively, and at 6 months, the incidence was 22.1% and 37.2% (OR =0.479, 95% CI: 0.245–0.936, P=0.03), respectively. No complications occurred during the study.
Conclusion: This study indicated that perioperative ultrasound-guided multilevel PVBs with ropivacaine improved acute postoperative pain and decreased postmastectomy chronic pain at 3 and 6 months postoperatively.

Keywords: breast cancer surgery, multimodal analgesia, thoracic paravertebral block, acute postoperative pain, chronic postsurgical pain

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