Implementation science for the adductor canal block: A new and adaptable methodology process

World J Orthop. 2021 Nov 18;12(11):899-908. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v12.i11.899.


Background: Following the successful Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) practice for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) at our institution, the need for continuous improvement was realized, including the deimplementation of antiquated PSH elements and introduction of new practices.

Aim: To investigate the transition from femoral nerve blocks (FNB) to adductor canal nerve blocks (ACB) during TKA.

Methods: Our 13-month study from June 2016 to 2017 was divided into four periods: a three-month baseline (103 patients), a one-month pilot (47 patients), a three-month implementation and hardwiring period (100 patients), and a six-month evaluation period (185 patients). In total, 435 subjects were reviewed. Data within 30 postoperative days were extracted from electronic medical records, such as physical therapy results and administration of oral morphine equivalents (OME).

Results: Our institution reduced FNB application (64% to 3%) and increased ACB utilization (36% to 97%) at 10 mo. Patients in the ACB group were found to have increased ambulation on the day of surgery (4.1 vs 2.0 m) and lower incidence of falls (0 vs 1%) and buckling (5% vs 27%) compared with FNB patients (P < 0.05). While ACB patients (13.9) reported lower OME than FNB patients (15.9), the difference (P = 0.087) did not fall below our designated statistical threshold of P value < 0.05.

Conclusion: By demonstrating closure of the "knowledge to action gap" within 6 mo, our institution's findings demonstrate evidence in the value of implementation science. Physician education, technical support, and performance monitoring were deemed key facilitators of our program's success. Expanded patient populations and additional orthopedic procedures are recommended for future study.

Keywords: Action-related information gap; Adductor canal block; Femoral nerve block; Oral morphine equivalent; Physical therapy; Total knee arthroplasty.