The effect of age on sciatic nerve block duration.
The physiologic changes that occur with advancing age and their effect on the duration of peripheral nerve blocks have yet to be defined. We prospectively studied the duration of sciatic nerve block using mepivacaine in younger and older patients. Eighty ASA physical status I-III patients, aged 18-35 (n = 40) or 55-80 (n = 40) yr, having outpatient knee arthroscopy with a femoral block and a standardized sciatic nerve block were enrolled; 37 in each group completed the study. All patients received a Labat sciatic nerve block using 20 mL of 1.0% mepivacaine with 0.1 mEq/mL sodium bicarbonate and 1:400,000 (2.5 microg/mL) epinephrine and a femoral nerve block. The duration of sensory block (sensation of pinprick, temperature, and vibration), motor block (plantar and dorsi flexion), and complete sensory and motor block in the sciatic nerve distribution of the operative extremity were measured. The time for complete return of both sensory and motor function was longer in the older group, 329 +/- 47 min compared with 306 +/- 46 min (mean +/- sd) in the younger group (P = 0.04). The difference was small under the conditions of this study and would not be perceived clinically. Age also increased the time to return of vibratory sensation (younger = 292 +/- 58 min, older = 257 +/- 50 min; P = 0.007). The other measurements did not differ between groups. We conclude that age may affect peripheral nerve blocks and that more investigation is needed to determine the pharmacologic, physiologic, and chronologic factors behind these findings.
Hanks, RK; Pietrobon, R; Nielsen, KC; Steele, SM; Tucker, M; Warner, DS; King, KP; Klein, SM
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