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CJEM. 2016 Jan;18(1):37-47. doi: 10.1017/cem.2015.75. Epub 2015 Sep 2.

Regional Nerve Blocks For Hip and Femoral Neck Fractures in the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review.

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*Department of Emergency Medicine,University of Ottawa,Ottawa,ON.



Hip and femoral neck fractures are common in elderly patients, who are at an increased risk of complications if their pain is suboptimally managed. This systematic review seeks to determine if regional nerve blocks reduce pain, reduce the need for parenteral opiates, and reduce complications, compared to standard pain management with opiates, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs.


Systematic review of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials found 401 articles, of which nine were selected for inclusion.


Randomized controlled trials including adult patients with a hip or femoral neck fracture (Population) who had a 3-in-1 femoral nerve block, traditional femoral nerve block, or fascia iliaca compartment block performed preoperatively (Intervention). Comparison must have been made with standard pain management with opiates, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs (Comparison) and outcomes must have included pain score reduction (Outcome).


Eight out of nine studies concluded pain scores were improved with the regional nerve block compared to standard pain management. A significant reduction in parenteral opiate use was seen in five out of six studies. No patients suffered life-threatening complications related to the nerve block; however, more minor complications were under-reported. Most of the studies were at a moderate to high risk of bias.


Regional nerve blocks for hip and femoral neck fractures have a benefit in reducing pain and the need for IV opiates. The use of these blocks can be recommended for these patients. Further high-quality randomized controlled trials are required.


Analgesia; Anesthesia; Emergency Medicine; Femoral Nerve; Hip Fracture; Nerve Blocks; Orthopedics; Pain Management; Regional analgesia

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