Prolonged Duration of Sciatic Nerve Blockade in the Elderly after Foot and Ankle Surgery
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1.1 Background and Objectives: Perioperative morbidity related to anesthesia renders elderly patients vulnerable because age related factors affect medication effects, clearance and metabolism. Regional anesthesia within a multimodal regimen reduces opioid adverse effects in the elderly and improves immediate analgesia but not long term recovery and prolonged nerve blockade has been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess analgesic effects of sciatic nerve blockade in the elderly. 1.2 Methods: Postoperative sciatic nerve blockade was administered for foot and ankle surgery to patients over age 18 years. Preoperative, post-anesthesia unit and 24 hour postoperative pain scores and opioid doses for these same intervals were recorded. 1.3 Results: 47 patients enrolled and 12 (25.5%) were over age 70. Preoperative, immediate and 24 post-operative pain scores and total intraoperative and immediate postoperative opioid doses were lower in the elderly. The total 24 hour postoperative opioid doses in the elderly were lower compared to the younger group. 1.4 Conclusions: Total 24 hour postoperative cumulative opioid doses after sciatic nerve blockade in patients over 70 are lower than in younger patients. Further observations in greater numbers of patients and improved ultrasound to assess sciatic nerve structure in the elderly are warranted to study this effect.