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Comparative Study
. 2014 May;472(5):1377-83.
doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3197-y.

Continuous Adductor Canal Blocks Are Superior to Continuous Femoral Nerve Blocks in Promoting Early Ambulation After TKA

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Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Continuous Adductor Canal Blocks Are Superior to Continuous Femoral Nerve Blocks in Promoting Early Ambulation After TKA

Seshadri C Mudumbai et al. Clin Orthop Relat Res. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: Femoral continuous peripheral nerve blocks (CPNBs) provide effective analgesia after TKA but have been associated with quadriceps weakness and delayed ambulation. A promising alternative is adductor canal CPNB that delivers a primarily sensory blockade; however, the differential effects of these two techniques on functional outcomes after TKA are not well established.

Questions/purposes: We determined whether, after TKA, patients with adductor canal CPNB versus patients with femoral CPNB demonstrated (1) greater total ambulation distance on Postoperative Day (POD) 1 and 2 and (2) decreased daily opioid consumption, pain scores, and hospital length of stay.

Methods: Between October 2011 and October 2012, 180 patients underwent primary TKA at our practice site, of whom 93% (n = 168) had CPNBs. In this sequential series, the first 102 patients had femoral CPNBs, and the next 66 had adductor canal CPNBs. The change resulted from a modification to our clinical pathway, which involved only a change to the block. An evaluator not involved in the patients' care reviewed their medical records to record the parameters noted above.

Results: Ambulation distances were higher in the adductor canal group than in the femoral group on POD 1 (median [10(th)-90(th) percentiles]: 37 m [0-90 m] versus 6 m [0-51 m]; p < 0.001) and POD 2 (60 m [0-120 m] versus 21 m [0-78 m]; p = 0.003). Adjusted linear regression confirmed the association between adductor canal catheter use and ambulation distance on POD 1 (B = 23; 95% CI = 14-33; p < 0.001) and POD 2 (B = 19; 95% CI = 5-33; p = 0.008). Pain scores, daily opioid consumption, and hospital length of stay were similar between groups.

Conclusions: Adductor canal CPNB may promote greater early postoperative ambulation compared to femoral CPNB after TKA without a reduction in analgesia. Future randomized studies are needed to validate our major findings.

Level of evidence: Level III, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
A flow diagram shows how patients were selected for this study. After development of the base population, patients were stratified by type of CPNB: adductor canal versus femoral.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
A graph shows ambulation distance determined at each physical therapy session with two sessions each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Horizontal lines represent medians; boxes represent 25th to 75th percentiles; whiskers represent 10th to 90th percentiles.

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