Daring discourse: are we ready to recommend neuraxial anesthesia and peripheral nerve blocks during the COVID-19 pandemic? A pro-con

Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2020 Oct;45(10):831-834. doi: 10.1136/rapm-2020-101653. Epub 2020 May 23.


The recent joint statement from the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) and the European Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA) recommends neuraxial and peripheral nerve blocks for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) illness. The benefits of regional anesthetic and analgesic techniques on patient outcomes and healthcare systems are evident. Regional techniques are now additionally promoted as a mechanism to reduce aerosolizing procedures. However, caring for patients with COVID-19 illness requires rapid redefinition of risks and benefits-both for patients and practitioners. These should be fully considered within the context of available evidence and expert opinion. In this Daring Discourse, we present two opposing perspectives on adopting the ASRA/ESRA recommendation. Areas of controversy in the literature and opportunities for research to address knowledge gaps are highlighted. We hope this will stimulate dialogue and research into the optimal techniques to improve patient outcomes and ensure practitioner safety during the pandemic.

Keywords: anesthesia; local; nerve block; postoperative complications; regional anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Conduction / adverse effects
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Conduction / trends
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / adverse effects
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / methods*
  • Autonomic Nerve Block / trends
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Anesthetics, Local