A Novel Technique to Reduce Reliance on Opioids for Analgesia from Acute Appendicitis: The Ultrasound-guided Erector Spinae Plane Block

Clin Pract Cases Emerg Med. 2019 May 29;3(3):248-251. doi: 10.5811/cpcem.2019.4.42117. eCollection 2019 Aug.


Single injection, ultrasound-guided nerve blocks have drastically changed the multimodal approach to pain management of the acutely injured patient in the emergency department (ED). Ultrasound-guided femoral nerve blocks in the ED have become standard aspects of multiple, hospital system pain management protocols, with early evidence demonstrating improved patient outcomes. Developing a multimodal pain management strategy can improve analgesia while reducing reliance on opioids in this era of opioid addiction.1 The single injection, ultrasound-guided erector spinae plane (ESP) block is a technique safely used for pain control for rib fractures that can be easily performed at the bedside and integrated into optimal emergency care. A more inferiorly located ultrasound-guided ESP block has been recently described in the anesthesia literature for perioperative pain control for various abdominal surgeries but has not yet been described for patients with acute appendicitis. Here we describe a single injection, lower ESP block performed by emergency physicians that successfully alleviated pain from acute appendicitis in an ED patient awaiting definitive surgical treatment. Along with allowing clinicians to actively manage pain without reliance on opioids, this novel ED technique may improve patient care outcomes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports