Histological consequences of needle-nerve contact following nerve stimulation in a pig model

  • Steinfeldt T
  • Graf J
  • Schneider J
 et al. 
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Background. Nerve stimulation can facilitate correct needle placement in peripheral regional anesthesia. The aim of this study was to determine whether the high threshold current is associated with reduced nerve injury due to fewer needle-nerve contacts compared with low current. Methods. In anaesthetized pigs, thirty-two nerves of the brachial plexus underwent needle placement at low (0.2 mA) or high current (1.0 mA). The occurrence of needle-nerve contact was recorded. After 48 hours, the nerves were analyzed for occurrence of histological changes. Nerve injury was scored ranging from 0 (no injury) to 4 (severe injury). Results. The frequency of needle-nerve contact was 94% at low compared to 6% at high current. The score was significantly higher at low (median [interquartile range] 2.0 [1.0-2.0]) compared to high current (0.0 [0.0-1.0] P = .001). Conclusions. Inflammatory responses were directly related to needle-nerve contacts. Hence, posttraumatic inflammation may be diminished using higher current for nerve localization.

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  • T. Steinfeldt

  • J. Graf

  • J. Schneider

  • W. Nimphius

  • E. Weihe

  • A. Borgeat

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