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Papers of the Week

2019 Sep

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol



Peripheral nerve catheters: A critical review of the efficacy.


Hauritz RW, Hannig KE, Balocco A L, Peeters G, Hadzic A, Børglum J, Bendtsen TF
Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2019 Sep; 33(3):325-339.
PMID: 31785718.


Continuous peripheral nerve blocks are commonly used for postoperative analgesia after surgery. However, catheter failure may occur due to either primary (incorrect insertion) or secondary reasons (displacement, obstruction, disconnection). Catheter failure results in unanticipated pain, need for opioid use, and risk of readmission or delay in hospital discharge. This review aimed to assess definition and frequency of catheter failure, and discuss the alternatives to prolong duration of single-shot nerve blocks. A literature search was performed on peripheral catheters reporting failure as the main outcome measure. Thirty-three studies met the selection criteria, comprising 2711 catheters. Literature review suggests that peripheral nerve catheters have clinically significant failure rate when the assessment is performed using an objective (imaging) method. Subjective methods of assessment (without imaging) may underestimate the incidence of catheter failure.