A New Approach: Regional Nerve Blockade for Angioplasty of the Lower Limb
An audit study investigated the pilot use of regional nerve block analgesia (as an alternative to sedative/opiate, general or central neuraxial anesthesia) performed by radiologists with the assistance of imaging techniques during complex prolonged angiography.
Radiologists were trained by anesthetic consultants to administer and use lower limb peripheral nerve block for difficult prolonged angioplasty procedures for patients with severe lower limb rest pain who were unable to lie in the supine position. In a pilot study 25 patients with limb-threatening ischemia received sciatic and femoral nerve blockade for angioplasty. The technique was developed and perfected in 12 patients and in a subsequent 13 patients the details of the angiography procedures, peripheral anesthesia, supplementary analgesia, complications, and pain assessment scores were recorded. Pain scores were also recorded in 11 patients prior to epidural/spinal anesthesia for critical ischemic leg angioplasty.
All patients with peripheral nerve blockade experienced a reduction in their ischemic rest pain to a level that permitted angioplasty techniques to be performed without spinal, epidural or general analgesia. In patients undergoing complex angioplasty intervention, the mean pain score by visual analogue scale was 3.7, out of a maximum score of 10.
The successful use of peripheral nerve blocks was safe and effective as an alternative to sedative/opiate, epidural or general anesthesia in patients undergoing complex angiography and has optimized the use of radiological and anesthetic department resources. This has permitted the frequent radiological treatment of patients with limb-threatening ischemia and reduced delays caused by the difficulty in enlisting the help of anesthetists, often at short notice, from the busy operating lists.
KeywordsAngioplasty Interventional radiology Pain Peripheral nerve block Regional anesthesia
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