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Br J Anaesth. 1998 Oct;81(4):603-5.

Patient-controlled interscalene analgesia with ropivacaine after major shoulder surgery: PCIA vs PCA.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesiology, Orthopaedic University Clinic of Zurich/Balgrist, Switzerland.


We have compared the efficacy of patient-controlled interscalene analgesia (PCIA) using ropivacaine with patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) using nicomorphine in 60 patients (n = 30 in each group), in a prospective, randomized study. In both groups, all patients received interscalene block with 0.75% ropivacaine before induction of anaesthesia. Six hours after interscalene block, patients in group PCIA received continuous infusion of 0.2% ropivacaine at a rate of 5 ml h-1 with a bolus dose of 3 or 4 ml and a lockout time of 20 min; patients in group PCA received continuous infusion of nicomorphine 0.5 mg h-1 and a bolus dose of 2 or 3 mg with a lockout time of 20 min. Control of pain was significantly better from 12 to 48 h after operation (except at 42 h) in group PCIA. Nausea and pruritus occurred significantly more frequently in group PCA. Patient satisfaction was greater in group PCIA. We conclude that the use of 0.2% ropivacaine using PCIA was an efficient way of managing pain after major shoulder surgery and compared favourably with PCA nicomorphine in terms of pain relief, side effects and patient satisfaction.

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