Two new articles by Dr. Jon Brookes

Bilateral Thoracic Paravertebral Blocks Compared to Thoracic Epidural Analgesia After Midline Laparotomy: A Pragmatic Noninferiority Clinical Trial.

Sondekoppam RV, Uppal V, Brookes J, Ganapathy S.

Anesth Analg. 2019 May 23. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000004219. [Epub ahead of print]


BACKGROUND: Bilateral paravertebral block (PVB) is a suitable alternative to thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) for abdominal surgeries. This randomized clinical trial aims to determine if PVB is noninferior to TEA in terms of analgesia after midline laparotomy.

METHODS: Seventy American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class I-III patients undergoing a laparotomy through a midline incision were randomized to receive either TEA (TEA group) or continuous bilateral PVB (PVB group) as a part of a multimodal analgesia regimen in an open-label design. Noninferiority was to be concluded if the mean between-group difference in pain on movement at the 24 postoperative hours was within a margin of 2 points on a 0-10 numerical rating scale (NRS). Pain score at rest and on movement, analgesic consumption, hemodynamics, and adverse events during the first 72 postoperative hours were the secondary outcome measures assessed for superiority. Postblock and steady-state plasma concentrations of ropivacaine and pattern of dye spread were also recorded in the PVB group.

RESULTS: The primary outcome of pain scores on movement at 24 postoperative hours was noninferior in PVB group in comparison to TEA group (mean difference [95% confidence interval {CI}], 0.43 [-0.72-1.58]). The pain scores at rest and on movement at other time points of assessment were within clinically acceptable limits in both groups with no significant differences between the groups over time. Arterial plasma ropivacaine levels were within safe limits, while steady-state venous level was higher than an acceptable threshold in 9 of 34 cases.

CONCLUSIONS: As a component of multimodal analgesia, bilateral PVB provides noninferior analgesia compared to TEA for midline laparotomy. 

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Postoperative uvular necrosis: A case series and literature review.

Reid JW, Samy A, Jeremic G, Brookes J, Sowerby LJ.

Laryngoscope. 2019 May 30. doi: 10.1002/lary.28096. [Epub ahead of print]


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Postoperative uvular necrosis is rare, but can be distressing to the patient when it unexpectedly occurs. Little has been published regarding its predisposing factors and pathophysiology. The purpose of this comprehensive review was to compile cases of postoperative uvular necrosis and identify risk factors and potential causes for this complication.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series.

METHODS: The study was performed at an academic tertiary care referral center. Clinical records from four patients treated for postoperative uvular necrosis from 2008 to 2018 were reviewed. A comprehensive literature review was also performed. The MEDLINE, Embase, and Scopus databases were searched, as well as the grey literature. All case reports and literature reviews in the English literature from 1978 to 2018 were systematically identified for review.

RESULTS: Four cases of postoperative uvular necrosis diagnosed clinically at our institution were included. The comprehensive literature review identified 26 reports and seven case series, totaling 53 cases of this complication. Use of suction was reported in 19 cases, and six cases reported no use of suction. Ninety-four percent of cases were treated conservatively, whereas 6% underwent excision. Ninety-one percent resolved within 14 days.

CONCLUSIONS: Impingement with various devices and vascular trauma from suction each likely play a role in postoperative uvular necrosis. Male oropharyngeal anatomy may be a risk factor, but neither the type of instrumentation nor the type of procedure seem to predict this complication. Proper positioning of the patient and instruments and minimizing suction force help prevent uvular injury.

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