Local anaesthetic dosage of peripheral nerve blocks in children: analysis of 40 121 blocks from the Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Network database

Suresh, S.; De Oliveira, G. S., Jr.

Br J Anaesth. 2018 Feb 7; 120(2):317-322

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The knowledge regarding appropriate dosage of local anaesthetics for peripheral nerve blocks in children is very scarce. The main objective of the current investigation was to evaluate dosing patterns of local anaesthetics in children receiving peripheral nerve blocks across multiple paediatric hospitals in the USA. We also sought to estimate the incidence of local anaesthetic systemic toxicity. METHODS: This is an observational study using the Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Network (PRAN) database. Data on every peripheral nerve block in patients aged <18 years placed from April 1, 2007 to May 31, 2015 were examined as a subset of the PRAN protocol. Data were examined for the type and dose of local anaesthetic and for the presence of local anaesthetic systemic toxicity. RESULTS: In total, 40 121 peripheral nerve blocks in children were analysed. Individual analyses of block type demonstrated large local anaesthetic dose variability with a five- to 10-fold spread depending on the block type. Two patients developed local anaesthetic systemic toxicity, resulting in an estimated incidence (95% CI) per blocks performed of 0.005% (0.001-0.015%). None of the patients had any short- or long-term complications or sequelae. CONCLUSIONS: We detected a large variability in the local anaesthetic dosing practices for peripheral nerve blocks in children across multiple hospitals in the USA. Nonetheless, the risk of local anaesthetic systemic toxicity was very low. Due to the lack of dose findings studies, our results suggest the need to develop practice guidelines to minimize variability of regional anaesthesia practices in children.

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