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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Paravertebral block versus thoracic epidural for patients undergoing thoracotomy

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (65th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 policy source
20 tweeters
4 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages


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Readers on

508 Mendeley
Paravertebral block versus thoracic epidural for patients undergoing thoracotomy
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009121.pub2
Pubmed ID

Joyce HY Yeung, Simon Gates, Babu V Naidu, Matthew JA Wilson, Fang Gao Smith


Operations on structures in the chest (usually the lungs) involve cutting between the ribs (thoracotomy). Severe post-thoracotomy pain can result from pleural (lung lining) and muscular damage, costovertebral joint (ribcage) disruption and intercostal nerve (nerves that run along the ribs) damage during surgery. Poor pain relief after surgery can impede recovery and increase the risks of developing complications such as lung collapse, chest infections and blood clots due to ineffective breathing and clearing of secretions. Effective management of acute pain following thoracotomy may prevent these complications and reduce the likelihood of developing chronic pain. A multi-modal approach to analgesia is widely employed by thoracic anaesthetists using a combination of regional anaesthetic blockade and systemic analgesia, with both non-opioid and opioid medications and local anaesthesia blockade.There is some evidence that blocking the nerves as they emerge from the spinal column (paravertebral block, PVB) may be associated with a lower risk of major complications in thoracic surgery but the majority of thoracic anaesthetists still prefer to use a thoracic epidural blockade (TEB) as analgesia for their patients undergoing thoracotomy. In order to bring about a change in practice, anaesthetists need a review that evaluates the risk of all major complications associated with thoracic epidural and paravertebral block in thoracotomy. To compare the two regional techniques of TEB and PVB in adults undergoing elective thoracotomy with respect to:1. analgesic efficacy;2. the incidence of major complications (including mortality);3. the incidence of minor complications;4. length of hospital stay;5. cost effectiveness. We searched for studies in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2013, Issue 9); MEDLINE via Ovid (1966 to 16 October 2013); EMBASE via Ovid (1980 to 16 October 2013); CINAHL via EBSCO host (1982 to 16 October 2013); and reference lists of retrieved studies. We handsearched the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia (16 October 2013). We reran the search on 31st January 2015. We found one additional study which is awaiting classification and will be addressed when we update the review. We included all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing PVB with TEB in thoracotomy, including upper gastrointestinal surgery. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Two review authors (JY and SG) independently assessed the studies for inclusion and then extracted data as eligible for inclusion in qualitative and quantitative synthesis (meta-analysis). We included 14 studies with a total of 698 participants undergoing thoracotomy. There are two studies awaiting classification. The studies demonstrated high heterogeneity in insertion and use of both regional techniques, reflecting real-world differences in the anaesthesia techniques. Overall, the included studies have a moderate to high potential for bias, lacking details of randomization, group allocation concealment or arrangements to blind participants or outcome assessors. There was low to very low-quality evidence that showed no significant difference in 30-day mortality (2 studies, 125 participants. risk ratio (RR) 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39 to 4.23, P value = 0.68) and major complications (cardiovascular: 2 studies, 114 participants. Hypotension RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.01 to 6.62, P value = 0.45; arrhythmias RR 0.36, 95% CI 0.04 to 3.29, P value = 0.36, myocardial infarction RR 3.19, 95% CI 0.13, 76.42, P value = 0.47); respiratory: 5 studies, 280 participants. RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.52, P value = 0.30). There was moderate-quality evidence that showed comparable analgesic efficacy across all time points both at rest and after coughing or physiotherapy (14 studies, 698 participants). There was moderate-quality evidence that showed PVB had a better minor complication profile than TEB including hypotension (8 studies, 445 participants. RR 0.16, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.38, P value < 0.0001), nausea and vomiting (6 studies, 345 participants. RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.75, P value = 0.001), pruritis (5 studies, 249 participants. RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.59, P value = 0.0005) and urinary retention (5 studies, 258 participants. RR 0.22, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.46, P value < 0.0001). There was insufficient data in chronic pain (six or 12 months). There was no difference found in and length of hospital stay (3 studies, 124 participants). We found no studies that reported costs. Paravertebral blockade reduced the risks of developing minor complications compared to thoracic epidural blockade. Paravertebral blockade was as effective as thoracic epidural blockade in controlling acute pain. There was a lack of evidence in other outcomes. There was no difference in 30-day mortality, major complications, or length of hospital stay. There was insufficient data on chronic pain and costs. Results from this review should be interpreted with caution due to the heterogeneity of the included studies and the lack of reliable evidence. Future studies in this area need well-conducted, adequately-powered RCTs that focus not only on acute pain but also on major complications, chronic pain, length of stay and costs.

Twitter Demographics

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 20 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 508 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Colombia 2 <1%
United Kingdom 2 <1%
Turkey 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Austria 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 499 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 61 12%
Researcher 53 10%
Other 51 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 40 8%
Student > Bachelor 39 8%
Other 105 21%
Unknown 159 31%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 222 44%
Nursing and Health Professions 34 7%
Psychology 14 3%
Social Sciences 11 2%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 10 2%
Other 39 8%
Unknown 178 35%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 22. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 September 2023.
All research outputs
of 24,486,486 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,927 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 303,523 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 256 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,486,486 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,927 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 34.7. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 72% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 303,523 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 256 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its contemporaries.