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J Emerg Med. 2018 Jul;55(1):87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2018.04.030. Epub 2018 May 29.

Use of Ultrasound-Guided Superficial Cervical Plexus Block for Pain Management in the Emergency Department.

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Emergency Department, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
Department of Family Medicine, University of British Columbia, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.



Although use of the superficial cervical plexus block (SCPB) by anesthesia for perioperative indications is well described, there is a paucity of research on use of SCPB in the emergency department (ED).


This prospective observational study aims to prospectively characterize the feasibility, potential for efficacy, and safety of ultrasound-guided SCPB in a convenience sample of ED patients presenting with painful conditions of the "cape" distribution of the neck and shoulder.


Data were gathered prospectively on a convenience sample of 27 patients presenting to a community ED with painful conditions involving the distribution of the SCPB: para-cervical muscle spasm/pain (n = 8), clavicle fractures (n = 7), acromioclavicular joint injuries (n = 3), radicular pain (n = 3), and rotator cuff disorders (n = 6). Pre- and post-block 11-point verbal numeric pain scores (VNPS) were recorded, as was the incidence of any immediate complications. A retrospective chart review looked for delayed complications in the 14-day post-block period.


The mean 11-point VNPS reduction was 5.4 points (62%). There were no early serious complications and one case each of self-limiting vocal hoarseness and asymptomatic hemi-diaphragmatic paresis. No delayed block-related complications were found.


While limited by the fact that this was a nonrandomized observational experience with no control group, our findings suggest that SCBP may be safe and have potential for efficacy, and warrants further evaluation in a randomized controlled trial.


analgesia; cervical plexus; nerve block; ultrasound

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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