A double-blinded randomized prospective study was performed to determine whether alkalinization of lidocaine decreases the pain of intradermal injection and if a larger intravenous catheter (16 gauge) causes more discomfort on insertion than a smaller (20 gauge) catheter when intradermal anesthesia has been used. In a random manner, 100 patients received skin wheals with commercially prepared lidocaine or lidocaine with the addition of sodium bicarbonate before the insertion of a 16-or 20-gauge intravenous catheter. Visual analogue pain scores were obtained after the skin wheal was placed and after the intravenous catheter was inserted. There was no statistically significant difference in pain scores between the two local anesthetic solutions. However, the catheter insertion pain scores were slightly, but statistically significantly larger in the 16-gauge group regardless of local anesthetic solution used. The addition of sodium bicarbonate to commercially prepared lidocaine does not decrease the pain associated with an intradermal skin wheal. There is a slight increase in patient discomfort upon insertion of a large-bore intravenous catheter, even with the prior use of local anesthetic.
Address correspondence to Dr. Gershon, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine, c/o Grady Memorial Hospital, 69 Butler Street, S.E., Atlanta, GA 30303.
© 1991 International Anesthesia Research Society