New studies published on Serratus Plane Block from Dr. Biswas

Use of Serratus Plane Block for Repair of Coarctation of Aorta: A Report of 3 Cases

Biswas A, Luginbuehl I1, Szabo E1, Caldeira-Kulbakas M1, Crawford MW1, Everett T1.
Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2018 Aug;43(6):641-643. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000801.


The practice of regional anesthesia techniques (thoracic, epidural, paravertebral) in pediatric cardiac surgery enhances perioperative outcomes such as improved perioperative analgesia, decreased stress response, early extubation, and shortened hospital stay. However, these blocks can be technically challenging and can be associated with unacceptable failure rate and complications in infants. For these reasons, regional anesthesia is sometimes avoided in pediatric cardiac surgery. We describe the simple and effective serratus plane block for thoracotomy analgesia in 2 neonates and a child.

Case Report:
We present 3 pediatric patients, each of whom was having coarctation repair and received an ultrasound-guided serratus plane block for thoracotomy analgesia. The patients were 3 days, 14 days, and 4 years old, weighing from 1.9 to 16 kg. The serratus plane block was performed prior to surgical incision. The block was technically simple compared with thoracic epidural or paravertebral block. All patients were extubated immediately after completion of surgery. Apart from the induction dose of fentanyl (2 μg/kg), no further opioids were required intraoperatively. Postoperative opioid requirements as well as duration of intensive care and hospital stay were lower than recent averages (for the same demographic and procedure) in our hospital.

We propose that the serratus plane block is a simple procedure that provides good perioperative analgesia for infant thoracotomy, potentially facilitating early extubation and a shorter hospital stay. 

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Serratus Plane Block: A Cadaveric Study to Evaluate Optimal Injectate Spread

Biswas A, Castanov V, Li Z, Perlas A, Kruisselbrink R, Agur A, Chan V.
Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2018 Jul 30. doi: 10.1097/AAP.0000000000000848. [Epub ahead of print]


Background and Objectives:
Although serratus plane block reportedly provides satisfactory analgesia for breast and thoracic surgeries, the optimal technique for consistent success has not been studied. The goal of this anatomical study was to evaluate the impact of volume, level, and site of injection on the extent of injectate spread that can influence anesthetic coverage.

Ultrasound-guided dye injection and subsequent dissection were performed in 39 cadaveric hemithoraces. Methylene blue was injected according to 1 of 4 injection protocols as follows: one 20-mL bolus, either superficial or deep to the serratus anterior muscle (SAM), at the fifth rib level (groups SUP-20 and DEEP-20, respectively), or two 20-mL boluses, either superior or deep to the SAM, one at the third rib and one at the fifth rib level (group SUP-40 and group
DEEP-40, respectively). Following injection, dissection and 3-dimensional digitization were performed to map the area of dye spread.

We found that the extent of dye spread was mostly influenced by the volume of injection rather than the plane of injection (superficial vs deep to SAM). Increasing the volume from 20 to 40 mL doubled the area of injectate spread and promoted dye spread preferentially to the anterior chest wall, with some impact on cephalad-to-caudad spread and no impact on posterior spread. Dye was found most consistently in the axilla when a separate injection was performed at the third rib level.

Our data showed that a high-volume double-injection technique provides extensive and consistent dye spread in the anterior chest wall and axilla, regardless of the plane of injection relative to the SAM. This technique likely provides more reliable analgesic coverage for breast procedures especially those that involve the axilla, pending confirmation in future clinical studies.

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