It is estimated that over 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the USA. For European countries, the number of hip replacement procedures per 100,000 people performed in 2007 varied from less than 50 to over 250. To facilitate postoperative rehabilitation, pain must be adequately treated. Peripheral nerve blocks and neuraxial blocks have been proposed to replace or supplement systemic analgesia.
We aimed to compare the relative effects (benefits and harms) of the different nerve blocks that may be used to relieve pain after elective hip replacement in adults.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, Issue 12, 2016), MEDLINE (Ovid SP) (1946 to December Week 49, 2016), Embase (Ovid SP) (1980 to December week 49, 2016), CINAHL (EBSCO host) (1982 to 6 December 2016), ISI Web of Science (1973 to 6 December 2016), Scopus (from inception to December 2016), trials registers, and relevant web sites.
We included all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) performed in adults undergoing elective primary hip replacement and comparing peripheral nerve blocks to any other pain treatment modality. We applied no language or publication status restrictions.
Data were extracted independently by two review authors. We contacted study authors.
We included 51 RCTs with 2793 participants; of these 45 RCTs (2491 participants: peripheral nerve block = 1288; comparators = 1203) were included in meta-analyses. There are 11 ongoing studies and three awaiting classification.Compared to systemic analgesia alone, peripheral nerve blocks reduced: pain at rest on arrival in the postoperative care unit (SMD -1.12, 95% CI -1.67 to -0.56; 9 trials, 429 participants; equivalent to 3.2 on 0 to 10 scale; moderate-quality evidence); risk of acute confusional status: risk ratio (RR) 0.10 95% CI 0.02 to 0.54; 1 trial, 225 participants; number needed to treat for additional benefit (NNTB) 12, 95% CI 11 to 22; very low-quality evidence); pruritus (RR 0.16, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.70; 2 trials, 259 participants for continuous peripheral nerve blocks; NNTB 4 (95% CI 4 to 8); very low-quality evidence); hospital length of stay (SMD -0.75, 95% CI -1.02 to -0.48; very low-quality evidence; 2 trials, 249 participants; equivalent to 0.75 day). Participant satisfaction increased (SMD 0.67, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.89; low-quality evidence; 5 trials, 363 participants; equivalent to 2.4 on 0 to 10 scale). We did not find a difference for the number of participants walking on postoperative day one (very low-quality evidence). Two nerve block-related complications were reported: one local haematoma and one delayed persistent paresis.Compared to neuraxial blocks, peripheral nerve blocks reduced the risk of pruritus (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.58; 6 trials, 299 participants; moderate-quality evidence; NNTB 6 (95% CI 5 to 9). We did not find a difference for pain at rest on arrival in the postoperative care unit (moderate-quality evidence); number of nerve block-related complications (low-quality evidence); acute confusional status (very low-quality evidence); hospital length of stay (low quality-evidence); time to first walk (low-quality evidence); or participant satisfaction (high-quality evidence).We found that peripheral nerve blocks provide better pain control compared to systemic analgesia with no major differences between peripheral nerve blocks and neuraxial blocks. We also found that peripheral nerve blocks may be associated with reduced risk of postoperative acute confusional state and a modest reduction in hospital length of stay that could be meaningful in terms of cost reduction considering the increasing numbers of procedures performed annually.
Compared to systemic analgesia alone, there is moderate-quality evidence that peripheral nerve blocks reduce postoperative pain, low-quality evidence that patient satisfaction is increased and very low-quality evidence for reductions in acute confusional status, pruritus and hospital length of stay .We found moderate-quality evidence that peripheral nerve blocks reduce pruritus compared with neuraxial blocks.The 11 ongoing studies, once completed, and the three studies awaiting classification may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.