Stimulating popliteal catheters for postoperative analgesia after hallux valgus repair

Anesth Analg. 2006 Jan;102(1):258-62. doi: 10.1213/01.ane.0000189219.00096.0c.


Stimulating catheters have been recently introduced in clinical practice. We assessed the efficacy of stimulating and nonstimulating catheter placement for pain control and local anesthetic requirements after hallux valgus repair with continuous sciatic popliteal nerve block in this comparative, randomized, blinded-to-observer study of 48 patients. A stimulating catheter was placed in groups S-125 and S-0625. The same catheter was inserted without stimulation in group NS-125. An infusion of 0.125% levobupivacaine was given in groups S-125 and NS-125, whereas 0.0625% levobupivacaine was used in group S-0625. All patients received an infusion of the test drug at a basal rate of 3 mL/h, with the possibility of an additional bolus of 3 mL every hour. Verbal analog scale (VAS) scores for pain were assessed between 6-8 h and between 19-23 h postoperatively. Multiple attempts were required for catheter insertion in all patients in groups S-125 and S-0625. Lower median (range) VAS scores for pain (0-100 points) were found in group S-125 at 6-8 h postoperatively when compared with groups S-0625 and NS-125: 5 (0-17.5) versus 60 (15-80) and 70 (25-80), respectively (P < 0.05); and lower VAS scores for pain were also found in group S-125 at 19-23 h when compared with group NS-125: 0 (0-0) and 7.5 (0-10), respectively (P < 0.05). Fewer patients required IV opioid analgesia in group S-125 than in groups S-0625 and NS-125: 0, 5, and 7 patients, respectively (P < 0.05). We conclude that efficacy in pain control was increased with stimulating catheter placement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bupivacaine / analogs & derivatives
  • Bupivacaine / therapeutic use
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Female
  • Hallux Valgus / drug therapy*
  • Hallux Valgus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Levobupivacaine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Care / methods*


  • Levobupivacaine
  • Bupivacaine