Adductor canal blocks for postoperative pain treatment in adults undergoing knee surgery

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Abstract

Background Peripheral regional anaesthesia techniques are well established for postoperative pain treatment following knee surgery. The adductor canal block (ACB) is a new technique, which can be applied as a single shot or by catheter for continuous regional analgesia. Objectives To compare the analgesic efficacy and adverse events of ACB versus other regional analgesic techniques or systemic analgesic treatment for adults undergoing knee surgery. Search methods We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and Embase, five other databases, and one trial register on 19 September 2018; we checked references, searched citations, and contacted study authors to identify additional studies. Selection criteria We included all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing single or continuous ACB versus other regional analgesic techniques or systemic analgesic treatment. Inclusion was independent of the technique used (landmarks, peripheral nerve stimulator, or ultrasound) and the level of training of providers. Data collection and analysis We used Cochrane’s standard methodological procedures. Our primary outcomes were pain intensity at rest and during movement; rate of accidental falls; and rates of opioid-related adverse events. We used GRADE to assess the quality of evidence for primary outcomes. Main results We included 25 RCTs (1688 participants) in this review (23 trials combined within meta-analyses). In 18 studies, participants underwent total knee arthroplasty (TKA), whereas seven trials investigated patients undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. We identified 11 studies awaiting classification and 11 ongoing studies. We investigated the following comparisons. ACB versus sham treatment We included eight trials for this comparison. We found no significant differences in postoperative pain intensity at rest (2 hours: standardized mean difference (SMD)-0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI)-1.20 to 0.07, 4 trials, 208 participants, low-quality evidence; 24 hours: SMD-0.49, 95% CI-1.05 to 0.07, 6 trials, 272 participants, low-quality evidence) or during movement (2 hours: SMD-0.59, 95% CI-1.5 to 0.33; 3 trials, 160 participants, very low-quality evidence; 24 hours: SMD 0.03, 95% CI-0.26 to 0.32, 4 trials, 184 participants, low-quality evidence). Furthermore, they noted no evidence of a difference in postoperative nausea between groups (24 hours: risk ratio (RR) 1.91, 95% CI 0.48 to 7.58, 3 trials, 121 participants, low-quality evidence). One trial reported that no accidental falls occurred 24 hours postoperatively (low-quality evidence). ACB versus femoral nerve block We included 15 RCTs for this comparison. We found no evidence of a difference in postoperative pain intensity at rest (2 hours: SMD-0.74, 95% CI-1.76 to 0.28, 5 trials, 298 participants, low-quality evidence; 24 hours: SMD 0.04, 95% CI-0.09 to 0.18, 12 trials, 868 participants, high-quality evidence) or during movement (2 hours: SMD-0.47, 95% CI-1.86 to 0.93, 2 trials, 88 participants, very low-quality evidence; 24 hours: SMD 0.56, 95% CI-0.00 to 1.12, 9 trials, 576 participants, very low-quality evidence). They noted no evidence of a difference in postoperative nausea (24 hours: RR 1.22, 95% CI 0.42 to 3.54, 2 trials, 138 participants, low-quality evidence) and no evidence that the rate of accidental falls during postoperative care was significantly different between groups (24 hours: RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.04 to 1.15, 3 trials, 172 participants, low-quality evidence). Authors' conclusions We are currently uncertain whether patients treated with ACB suffer from lower pain intensity at rest and during movement, fewer opioid-related adverse events, and fewer accidental falls during postoperative care compared to patients receiving sham treatment. The same holds true for the comparison of ACB versus femoral nerve block focusing on postoperative pain intensity. The overall evidence level was mostly low or very low, so further research might change the conclusion. The 11 studies awaiting classification and the 11 ongoing studies, once assessed, may alter the conclusions of this review.

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Schnabel, A., Reichl, S. U., Weibel, S., Zahn, P. K., Kranke, P., Pogatzki-Zahn, E., & Meyer-Frießem, C. H. (2019, October 26). Adductor canal blocks for postoperative pain treatment in adults undergoing knee surgery. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012262.pub2

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