AUTHORS: Choi, Eun Joo MD et al
Anesthesia & Analgesia: June 2017 – Volume 124 – Issue 6 – p 2021–2029
BACKGROUND: Percutaneous epidural adhesiolysis (PEA) is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed to relieve low back and/or lower limb pain secondary to adhesions or scarring in the epidural space that is refractory to conservative treatment. The optimal concentration of hypertonic saline might be an important factor in the safety and efficacy of PEA. We evaluated differences in the efficacy and safety of 2 concentrations of hypertonic saline (5% and 10%) used in lumbar PEA at our institutions in a retrospective study.
METHODS: Patients who received lumbar PEA between January 2009 and June 2014 at either of 2 large civilian teaching institutions in South Korea were assigned to the 5% or 10% groups according to the osmolality of saline. The primary outcome of this study was the difference in change in the 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS) scores of low back and leg pain from baseline to 6 months after PEA between patients in the 2 groups. The number of additional epidural injections, patients’ satisfaction with PEA, and any complications that occurred within 6 months after PEA were reviewed.
RESULTS: This study included 543 patients (5% group, 333; 10% group, 210). Post-PEA NRS pain scores were significantly lower compared with those at baseline in both groups; however, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at 6 months or any time point after PEA with regard to any of the clinical characteristics, except infusion-related pain, which exhibited borderline significance for greater scores in the 10% group compared with those in the 5% group (P = .041). Multivariable linear regression analysis with adjustments for covariates, including the number of additional epidural injections, revealed no significant association between patient group and the decrease in NRS pain scores at 6 months of follow-up. Transient adverse events related to PEA were recorded in 3 patients (10% group, 2; 5% group, 1).
CONCLUSIONS: In PEA, 5% hypertonic saline exhibited similar positive outcomes after 6 months of follow-up as 10% hypertonic saline, with less infusion-related pain. This result suggests that infusion of 5% hypertonic saline may be considered as an alternative to 10% hypertonic saline in lumbar PEA. Further prospective randomized studies are required to better appreciate the outcome with regard to the use of different concentrations of hypertonic saline for PEA.