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American Society for Action on Pain

Author: Elizaga-A-M. Smith-D-G. Sharar-S-R. Edwards-W-T. Hansen-S-T- Jr.

Title: Continuous regional analgesia by intraneural block: effect on postoperative opioid requirements and phantom limb pain following amputation.

Source: J-Rehabil-Res-Dev. 1994 Aug. 31(3). P 179-87.


Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a previously described technique of regional analgesia (continuous infusion of local anesthetic through a catheter placed at the time of amputation within the exposed sciatic or posterior tibial nerve) on relieving the postoperative pain in a heterogeneous group of patients who underwent lower extremity amputations. A second objective was to determine the effect of such treatment on the incidence and characteristics of phantom limb pain 6 months or more after surgery in the same patients. The study design was retrospective, unblinded, controlled (postoperative pain), and unblinded questionnaire and interview (phantom pain) were utilized. Subjects were inpatients at Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Nineteen bupivacaine-treated and 40 nonbupivacaine-treated patients who underwent lower extremity amputation subsequent to trauma, infection, long-standing injury (poor or no function), congenital deformity, or burns were evaluated in the postoperative pain management assessment. Nine treated and 12 untreated patients were interviewed in the phantom pain assessment. Bupivacaine 0.5% 2-6 ml/h was infused through a polyamide 20-gauge catheter inserted into the sciatic or posterior tibial nerve sheath under direct vision at the time of surgery. All patients, treated and control, received opioid analgesics systemically during the 72-hour period of study. The postoperative opioid analgesic requirement of treated patients was compared with that of control patients who received opioid analgesics alone. A questionnaire was administered to assess presence, severity, and character of phantom pain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)