α 2 agonists have been utilised in regional blocks, but very little data is available for their use in transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block in paediatric laparoscopic (LAP) surgeries. This study investigated the analgesic effect of ropivacaine alone versus its combination with dexmedetomidine for TAP block in children undergoing LAP surgery.
A randomised, double-blind trial was conducted in 50 American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) 1 and 2 children of 2–8 years undergoing LAP abdominal surgery. Children were randomised to receive a total volume of 0.5 ml/kg of 0.2% ropivacaine (LA group) or 0.2% ropivacaine with 1 μg/kg dexmedetomidine (LAD group) for performing ultrasound-guided bilateral TAP block postoperatively (PO). Patients were monitored PO for vital signs, pain, sedation, time to first rescue analgesic and total analgesic consumption for 24 h. Time to first rescue analgesic was expressed as mean ± standard deviation (SD) and analysed using Kaplan–Meier survival analysis. Pain and sedation scores were expressed as median [interquartile range (IQR)] and analysed using Mann–Whitney U test.
First rescue analgesic demand was significantly longer ( P = 0.001) in LAD (474.8 min) versus LA group (240.9 min) but total analgesics consumption in first 24 h was comparable. Pain scores were significantly lower ( P < 0.05) in LAD compared to LA group at all times PO. Each group had comparable but significantly lower sedation scores up to 24 h PO.