Background: Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is associated with intense post-operative pain. Besides providing optimal analgesia, reduction in side effects and enhanced mobilization are important in this elderly population. The adductor-canal-blockade is theoretically an almost pure sensory blockade. We hypothesized that the adductor-canal-blockade may reduce morphine consumption (primary endpoint), improve pain relief, enhance early ambulation ability, and reduce side effects (secondary endpoints) after TKA compared with placebo.
Methods: Patients aged 50-85 years scheduled for TKA were included in this parallel double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial. The patients were allocated to receive a continuous adductor-canal-blockade with intermittent boluses via a catheter with either ropivacaine 0.75% (n = 34) or placebo (n = 37) (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01104883).
Results: Seventy-five patients were randomized in a 1 : 1 ratio and 71 patients were analyzed. Morphine consumption from 0 to 24 h was significantly reduced in the ropivacaine group compared with the placebo group (40 ± 21 vs. 56 ± 26 mg, P = 0.006). Pain was significantly reduced in the ropivacaine group during 45 degrees flexion of the knee (P = 0.01), but not at rest (P = 0.06). Patients in the ropivacaine group performed the ambulation test, the Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG) test, at 24 h significantly faster than patients in the placebo group (36 ± 17 vs. 50 ± 29 s, P = 0.03).
Conclusion: The adductor-canal-blockade significantly reduced morphine consumption and pain during 45 degrees flexion of the knee compared with placebo. In addition, the adductor-canal-blockade significantly enhanced ambulation ability assessed by the TUG test.
© 2012 The Authors Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica © 2012 The Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica Foundation.