Authors: Chalifoux, F., Colin, F., St-Pierre, P. et al.
Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2017) 64: 280
Although intravenous dexamethasone prolongs the analgesic duration of interscalene brachial plexus block, it is uncertain whether this effect can be observed using lower doses of dexamethasone. This study evaluated the impact of intravenous dexamethasone (4 mg and 10 mg) on the analgesic duration of single-shot interscalene block after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. We hypothesized that both doses would prolong the analgesic duration compared with placebo.
This was a prospective double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study in patients undergoing elective arthroscopic shoulder surgery under regional anesthesia with a single-shot interscalene block (0.5% ropivacaine 20 mL). Patients received dexamethasone 4 mg (D4), dexamethasone 10 mg (D10), or a placebo (normal saline [NS]) intravenously at the time of block completion. The primary outcome was the duration of analgesia, defined as the time from the onset of sensory blockade to the first analgesic request. The primary outcome was first analyzed with a Kruskal-Wallis test and then with a Mann-Whitney test for pairwise between-group comparison.
Sixty-nine patients completed the study. The median [interquartile range] duration of analgesia was significantly different between the three groups (D4, 19.7 [16.9-23.3] hr; D10, 19.1 [11.5-22.8] hr; and NS, 11.8 [9.3-14.0] hr; P = 0.001). This difference was statistically significant for D4 and D10 compared with placebo (median difference [MD], 7.8 hr; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.6 to 11.1 hr; P < 0.001; and MD, 7.4 hr; 95% CI, 4.2 to 10.5 hr; P = 0.001, respectively) but not for D4 compared with D10 (MD, 0.5 hr; 95% CI, −2.8 to 3.7 hr; P = 0.38).
Low doses of intravenous dexamethasone (4 mg and 10 mg) significantly prolong the analgesic duration of interscalene block.