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The effectiveness of regional anaesthesia before and after the introduction of a dedicated regional anaesthesia service incorporating a block room

Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland


Dedicated regional anaesthesia services incorporating block rooms and/or block teams may facilitate theatre efficiency and improve training in regional anaesthesia. Currently, it is unknown if a dedicated regional anaesthesia service improves the effectiveness of regional anaesthesia. In November 2013, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital established a dedicated regional anaesthesia service comprising a block team and a block room. Pre-intervention (conventional model of care) registry data was retrospectively compared with post-intervention (dedicated regional anaesthesia service) audit data, with regard to pain and opioid requirement in the post-anaesthesia care unit (PACU). The primary outcome was inadequate analgesia, defined as a numerical rating scale (NRS; 0, no pain; 10, worst pain imaginable) for pain >5 in the PACU. Pre- and post-intervention, 43.7% and 27.7% of patients respectively reported a NRS >5 (P <0.001). A difference in the type of blocks and surgery performed may have accounted for the improved outcome seen post-intervention. After adjustment for American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status, block type and surgery type, the odds ratio of having inadequate analgesia (NRS >5) was 0.54 (95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.76) for post-intervention compared to pre-intervention. Secondary outcomes examined pre- and post-intervention were the absence of pain (39.3% and 55.1% of patients, respectively, P <0.001), systemic opioid analgesia requirement (48.6% and 30.5% of patients respectively, P <0.001) and median maximum NRS (4 [interquartile range (IQR) 0 to 8] and 0 [IQR 0 to 6] respectively, P <0.001). A dedicated regional anaesthesia service was associated with improved effectiveness of regional anaesthesia.

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