Retrospective assessment of peripheral nerve block techniques used in cats undergoing hindlimb orthopaedic surgery

Vettorato E, Corletto F. J Feline Med Surg. 2016 Oct; 18 (10): 826-33.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess retrospectively the efficacy and complication rate of hindlimb peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs) in cats.

METHODS: Clinical records of cats that received PNBs and underwent hindlimb orthopaedic surgery from February 2010 to October 2014 were examined. Type of PNB, type and dose of local anaesthetic used, end-expiratory fraction of isoflurane (FE'Iso) administered, additional intraoperative analgesia, incidence of hypotension, postoperative opioid requirement, postoperative contralateral limb paralysis and neurological complications at the 6 week re-examination were investigated.

RESULTS: Eighty-nine records were retrieved but only 69 were analysed. Four combinations of PNBs were used: 34 lateral preiliac (LPI) approach to lumbar plexus (LP) associated with lumbar paravertebral approach to sciatic nerve (SN); 20 LPI-LP associated with the lateral approach to SN; three LPI-LP associated with gluteal approach to SN; 12 dorsal-paravertebral (DPV) approach to LP associated with lateral SN. Levobupivacaine was used for the majority of PNBs. The mean intraoperative FE'Iso was 1.15%; hypotension was documented in 55.1% of anaesthetics, while 31.8% of cats received fentanyl and/or ketamine intraoperatively. Postoperatively, 72.7% of cats received at least one dose of opioid, while five cats required further postoperative analgesia (ketamine constant rate infusion and/or gabapentin). No cats showed contralateral limb paralysis and neurological complications at the 6 week re-examination. No differences were found when comparing the different PNBs used.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: PNBs contributed to perioperative anaesthesia/analgesia in cats undergoing hindlimb orthopaedic surgery. However, the clinical relevance of intraoperative hypotension needs further investigation.