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      Transversus thoracis muscle plane block in cardiac surgery: a pilot feasibility study

      , , , , ,

      Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine

      BMJ

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Cardiac surgery patients often experience significant pain after median sternotomy. The transversus thoracis muscle plane (TTP) block is a newly developed, single-shot nerve block technique that provides analgesia for the anterior chest wall. In this double-blind pilot study, we assessed the feasibility of performing this novel block as an analgesic adjunct.

          Methods

          All patients aged 18–90 undergoing elective cardiac surgery were randomized to the block or standard care control group on admission to the intensive care unit after surgery. Under ultrasound guidance, patients in the block group received the TTP block with 20 mL of either 0.3% or 0.5% ropivacaine bilaterally, based on weight. The control group did not receive any injections. All blocks were performed by a single anesthesiologist, and data collection was performed by blinded assessors. The primary feasibility outcomes were rate of recruitment, adherence, and adverse events. The rate of recruitment was defined as the ratio of patients giving informed consent to the number of eligible patients who were approached to participate. Secondary outcomes included 12-hour and 24-hour Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) pain scores, 24-hour hydromorphone and acetaminophen requirements, time to extubation, time to first opioid administration, and patient satisfaction (on a yes/no questionnaire) at 24 hours.

          Results

          Twenty patients were approached for this study and 19 were enrolled. Eight patients received the intended intervention in each group. The recruitment rate was 95% of all approached eligible patients, and the adherence rate to treatment group was 94%. There were no block-related adverse events. The mean (SD) NRS pain scores at rest were 3.3 (3.2) in the block group vs 5.6 (3.2) in the control group at 12 hours. At 24 hours, the pain scores were 4.1 (3.9) vs 4.1 (3.3) in the block and control group, respectively. The mean (SD) 24-hour hydromorphone administration was 1.9 (1.1) mg in the block group vs 1.8 (0.9) mg in the control group.

          Discussion

          The TTP block is a novel pain management strategy poststernotomy. The results reveal a high patient recruitment, adherence, and satisfaction rate, and provide some preliminary data supporting safety.

          Trial registration number

          NCT03128346.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 15

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          Pain location, distribution, and intensity after cardiac surgery.

          To study the location, distribution, and intensity of pain in a sample of adult cardiac surgery patients during their postoperative hospital stay. In a prospective study, pain location, distribution (number of pain areas per patient), and intensity (0 to 10 numerical rating scale) were documented on the first, second, third, and seventh postoperative day (POD). Patient characteristics (age, sex, size, and body mass index) were analyzed for their impact on pain intensity. A university hospital. Two hundred consecutive adult patients who underwent median sternotomy for open heart surgery. There were 121 male and 79 female patients, with a mean (+/- SD) age of 60.9 +/- 19.2 years. The maximal pain intensity was significantly higher on POD 1 and 2 (3.7 +/- 2 and 3.9 +/- 1.9, respectively) and lower on POD 3 and 7 (3.2 +/- 1.5 and 2.6 +/- 1.8, respectively). The pain distribution did not vary significantly throughout the hospital stay, but the location did, with more shoulder pain on POD 7. Only age was found to have an impact on pain intensity, with patients < 60 years having a higher pain intensity than older patients on POD 2 (4.3 +/- 2.2 vs 3.6 +/- 2.4; p = 0.02). In this patient population, the pain intensity diminished from POD 3 onward, although its distribution did not vary significantly during the first postoperative week. Moreover, pain location changed with time, with more osteoarticular type pain at the end of the first postoperative week. Among the patients' characteristics, only younger age had an impact on pain intensity, with a higher value on POD 2.
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            Chronic post-sternotomy pain.

            Chronic postoperative pain is a well-recognised problem. The incidence of severe incapacitating pain is about 3-5% after various types of surgery such as thoracotomy, repair of inguinal hernias and mastectomy. Sternotomy causes considerable postoperative pain and patients with chronic post-sternotomy pain are often referred to pain clinics. Epidemiological studies on chronic post-sternotomy pain are scarce, however. The aim of this paper was to study the incidence and possible risk factors of chronic pain following sternotomy operations performed for coronary bypass grafting or thymectomy. Two groups of patients were studied for persistent pain following sternotomy operations. A questionnaire was sent in January 1997 to 71 patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) who had undergone a thymectomy during 1985-1996 and 720 patients who had had coronary bypass grafting (CABG) in 1994 were interviewed by letter. The patients were asked about the presence of pain and other symptoms in the chest, shoulders, arms or legs that they thought were connected to surgery. They were also asked about the quality of the pain and its evolvement with time. The patients' records were checked for details about surgery, anaesthesia and the state of the coronary disease. The response rate was 87%. The interval between the interview and surgery varied from 6 months to 12 years in the MG group and it was 2-3 years in the CABG group. In the MG group, 27% of the patients reported chronic post-sternotomy pain, which was moderate to severe in 48% of the patients. In the CABG group, 28% of the patients still had post-sternotomy pain, which was moderate to severe in 38% of patients. Of the patients who had post-sternotomy pain, one-third reported sleep disturbances due to the pain. Chronic post-sternotomy pain is an important complication that may have a significant impact on the patient's everyday life. Future studies will show whether minimising complications, improving postoperative care and starting early adequate pain management will reduce the incidence of this problem.
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              • Article: not found

              Poststernotomy pain: a clinical review.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine
                BMJ
                1098-7339
                1532-8651
                April 23 2019
                May 2019
                May 2019
                March 21 2019
                : 44
                : 5
                : 556-560
                Article
                10.1136/rapm-2018-100178
                © 2019

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