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A Double-Blind Comparison of Ropivacaine, Bupivacaine, and Mepivacaine During Sciatic and Femoral Nerve Blockade

Fanelli, Guido MD; Casati, Andrea MD; Beccaria, Paolo MD; Aldegheri, Giorgio MD; Berti, Marco MD; Tarantino, Federica MS; Torri, Giorgio MD

doi: 10.1213/00000539-199809000-00019
Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management

No study has evaluated the efficacy of ropivacaine in peripheral nerve block of the lower extremity.The purpose of this prospective, randomized, double-blind study was to compare ropivacaine, bupivacaine, and mepivacaine during combined sciatic-femoral nerve block. Forty-five ASA physical status I or II patients scheduled for elective hallux valgus repair with thigh tourniquet were randomized to receive combined sciatic-femoral block with 0.75% ropivacaine (ROPI, n = 15), 0.5% bupivacaine (BUPI, n = 15), and 2% mepivacaine (MEPI, n = 15). Time required for onset of sensory and motor block on the operated limb (readiness for surgery) and resolution of motor block, as well as onset of postsurgical pain and time of first analgesic requirement, were recorded. The three groups were similar with regard to demographic variables, duration of surgery, and measured visual analog pain scores. Onset of sensory and motor blockade was similar in Groups ROPI and MEPI and significantly shorter than in Group BUPI (P = 0.002 and P = 0.001, respectively). Resolution of motor block occurred later in Groups ROPI and BUPI than in Group MEPI (P = 0.005 and P = 0.0001, respectively). Duration of postoperative analgesia was significantly longer in Groups ROPI (670 +/- 227 min) and BUPI (880 +/- 312 min) compared with Group MEPI (251 +/- 47 min) (P = 0.0001), with a significant decrease in postoperative pain medication requirements (P < 0.05). We conclude that for sciatic-femoral nerve block, 0.75% ropivacaine has an onset similar to that of 2% mepivacaine and a duration of postoperative analgesia between that of 0.5% bupivacaine and 2% mepivacaine. Implications: Quick onset of block with prolonged postoperative analgesia is an important goal in peripheral nerve blockade. We evaluated the clinical properties of 0.5% bupivacaine, 2% mepivacaine, and 0.75% ropivacaine for sciatic-femoral nerve block and demonstrated that ropivacaine has an onset similar to that of mepivacaine but allows for postoperative analgesia between that of bupivacaine and mepivacaine.

(Anesth Analg 1998;87:597-600)

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Accepted for publication May 5, 1998.

Address correspondence to A. Casati, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, IRCCS H San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy. Address e-mail to

© 1998 International Anesthesia Research Society