METHODS: Sixty patients 18–65 years of age were randomly allocated into 2 groups. Patients in the erector spinae plane block group received bilateral ultrasound-guided erector spinae plane block at the level of T7 transverse process using 20 mL of bupivacaine 0.25% on each side, while the control group received bilateral sham erector spinae plane block using 1 mL of normal saline. All patients underwent general anesthesia for surgery. Pain severity (visual analog scale), consumption of intraoperative fentanyl, time to first request of rescue analgesia, and postoperative pethidine consumption were recorded over the first 24 hours postoperatively.
RESULTS: At 2 hours postoperatively, the visual analog scale pain score was significantly lower in the erector spinae plane block group compared to the control group (estimated main effect of 2.53; P< .001; 95% CI, 1.8–3.2) and remained lower until 12 hours postoperatively (P < .001 from postanesthesia care unit admission to 4 hours postoperatively, .001 at 6 hours, .025 at 8 hours, and .043 at 12 hours). At 18 and 24 hours, visual analog scale pain scores were not significantly different between both groups (P = .634 and .432, respectively). Four patients in the erector spinae plane block group required intraoperative fentanyl compared to 27 patients in control group. The median (quartiles) of intraoperative fentanyl consumption in the erector spinae plane block group was significantly lower (0 µg [0–0 µg]) compared to that of the control group (94 µg [74–130 µg]). Ten patients in the erector spinae plane block group required postoperative rescue pethidine compared to 25 patients in control group. The median [quartiles] of postoperative rescue pethidine consumption was significantly lower in the erector spinae plane block group (0 mg [0–33 mg]) compared to that of the control group (83 mg [64–109 mg]). Time to first rescue analgesic request was significantly prolonged in the erector spinae plane block group compared to control group (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasound-guided bilateral erector spinae plane block provided lower postoperative visual analog scale pain scores and decreased consumption of both intraoperative fentanyl and postoperative rescue analgesia for patients undergoing open epigastric hernia repair.