BACKGROUND: Although the role of regional anesthesia in pediatric patients has been increasing over the last few years, there are only a few small case series that describe the use of ambulatory continuous peripheral nerve blocks (CPNBs) in this patient population. In this report, we describe our experience with the use of ambulatory CPNBs in 1285 children.
METHODS: Data were collected for consecutive children who had a CPNB placed between January 2005 and December 2011 at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from the departmental regional anesthesia database. Data collected included demographics, the site of catheter placement and technique of nerve block, presence of sensory/motor blockade, use of perioperative opioids, and any complications related to CPNBs.
RESULTS: Continuous infusions of local anesthetics were administered via the catheters in 1285 outpatients. The mean duration of the CPNB was 50.7 ± 14.4 hours (mean ± SD). Among patients discharged home with the CPNBs, 969 (75.4%) of the patients required either no supplemental opioids or oral opioids only on an “as needed” basis in the postoperative period (confidence interval, 73.0%–77.8%). Two patients were readmitted for IV pain management after they were discharged home with the CPNB catheters. No neurological deficit related to the CPNBs was identified in any of the patients at their 6-month follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon (confidence interval, 0%–0.29%).
CONCLUSION: This audit of 1285 children shows ambulatory CPNBs can provide postoperative analgesia and may reduce the need for inpatient parenteral opioid therapy.