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Br J Anaesth. 2003 Dec;91(6):830-5.

Pharmacokinetics and efficacy of ropivacaine continuous wound instillation after joint replacement surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, St Anna Hospital Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.



As continuous wound instillation with local anaesthetic has not been evaluated after hip/knee arthroplasties, our study was designed to determine whether this technique could enhance analgesia and improve patient outcome after joint replacement surgery.


Thirty-seven patients undergoing elective hip/knee arthroplasties under spinal block were randomly assigned to two analgesia groups. Group M received continuous i.v. infusion of morphine plus ketorolac for 24 h. Then, a multi-hole 16 G catheter was placed subcutaneously and infusion of saline was maintained for 55 h. Group R received i.v. saline. Thereafter the wound was infiltrated with a solution of ropivacaine 0.5% 40 ml, then a multi-hole 16 G catheter was placed subcutaneously and an infusion of ropivacaine 0.2% 5 ml h(-1) was maintained for 55 h. Visual analogue scale scores were assessed at rest and on passive mobilization by nurses blinded to analgesic treatment. Total plasma ropivacaine concentration was measured.


Group R showed a significant reduction in postoperative pain at rest and on mobilization, while rescue medication requirements were greater in Group M. Total ropivacaine plasma concentration remained below toxic concentrations and no adverse effects occurred. Length of hospital stay was shorter in Group R.


Infiltration and wound instillation with ropivacaine 0.2% is more effective in controlling postoperative pain than systemic analgesia after major joint replacement surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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