Background: Hip fracture patients are in severe pain upon arrival at the emergency department. Pain treatment is traditionally based on systemic opioids. No study has examined the effect of fascia iliaca compartment blockade (FICB) in acute hip fracture pain management within a double-blind, randomized setup.
Methods: Forty-eight patients with suspected hip fracture were included immediately after arrival in the emergency department, before x-ray confirmation of their fracture. Included patients were randomly assigned to two groups of 24. In the FICB group, the patients received an FICB with 1.0% mepivacaine and a placebo intramuscular injection of isotonic saline. In the morphine group, the patients received a placebo FICB with 0.9% saline and an intramuscular injection of 0.1 mg/kg morphine. Patients received intravenous rescue morphine when necessary.
Results: Maximum pain relief was superior in the FICB group both at rest (P < 0.01) and on movement (P = 0.02). The median total morphine consumption was 0 mg (interquartile range, 0-0 mg) in the FICB group and 6 mg (interquartile range, 5-7 mg) in the morphine group (P < 0.01). More patients (P = 0.05) were sedated in the morphine group at 180 min after block placement as compared with the FICB group.
Conclusion: Pain relief was superior at all times and at all measurements in the FICB group. The study supports the use of FICB in acute management of hip fracture pain because it is an effective, easily learned procedure that also may reduce opioid side effects in this fragile, elderly group of patients.