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Ultrasound-guided continuous serratus anterior plane block: dexmedetomidine as an adjunctive analgesic with levobupivacaine for post-thoracotomy pain. A prospective randomized controlled study

Authors Abdallah NM, Bakeer AH, Youssef RB, Zaki HV, Abbas DN

Received 21 November 2018

Accepted for publication 26 March 2019

Published 30 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1425—1431

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S195431

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval


Nasr M Abdallah,1 Ahmed H Bakeer,2 Rasha B Youssef,3 Hany V Zaki,4 Dina N Abbas2

1Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Surgical ICU, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt; 2Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt; 3Department of Anesthesia, Surgical ICU and Pain Management, Faculty of Medicine, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt; 4Department of Anesthesia, Surgical ICU and Pain Management, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Purpose: The study aimed to evaluate the analgesic efficiency of dexmedetomidine (DEX) when added to levobupivacaine in continuous ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block (SAPB) performed at the end of major thoracic surgery.
Methods: This randomized, double-blind trial included 50 adults undergoing thoracic surgery. Continuous SAPB was performed at the end of surgery. Patients were randomized into two groups. Group L (n=25) received levobupivacaine only while Group DL (n=25) received a mixture of levobupivacaine and DEX. All patients received intravenous (IV) paracetamol every 8 hrs. Morphine IV was given according to VAS score of pain as a 5 mg loading dose. The primary outcome measure was postoperative pain intensity. Secondary outcome measures were postoperative morphine consumption and adverse effects.
Results: Analgesia was satisfactory in the two groups up to 24 hrs. VAS score was significantly lower in group DL compared to group L between 6 and 24 hrs postoperatively. Total morphine consumption was significantly lower in group DL compared to group L (p<0.001). Up to 12 hrs postoperatively, sedation score was significantly lower in group DL compared to group L. Afterwards, all patients were fully alert. All values of mean arterial pressure and heart rate were within the clinically accepted ranges. There were no recorded cases of hypotension or bradycardia in the whole studied group.
Conclusions: Continuous SAPB with levobupivacaine plus DEX seems to be a promising analgesic alternative following thoracotomy. Combined with IV paracetamol, this approach provided adequate analgesia and proper sedation.
Trial registration: ISRCTN registry; study ID: ISRCTN35517318

Keywords: serratus anterior plane block, dexmedetomidine, thoracic surgery, post-thoracotomy


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