Bilateral Brachial Plexus Home Going Catheters After Digital Amputation for Patient With Upper Extremity Digital Gangrene

Alaa A Abd-Elsayed, John Seif, Maged Guirguis, Sherif Zaky, Loran Mounir-Soliman


Peripheral nerve catheter placement is used to control surgical pain. Performing bilateral brachial plexus block with catheters is not frequently performed; and in our case sending patient home with bilateral brachial plexus catheters has not been reported up to our knowledge. Our patient is a 57 years old male patient presented with bilateral upper extremity digital gangrene on digits 2 through 4 on both sides with no thumb involvement. The plan was to do the surgery under sequential axillary blocks. On the day of surgery a right axillary brachial plexus block was performed under ultrasound guidance using 20 ml of 0.75% ropivacaine. Patient was taken to the OR and the right fingers amputation was carried out under mild sedation without problems. Left axillary brachial plexus block was then done as the surgeon was closing the right side, two hours after the first block was performed. The left axillary block was done also under ultrasound using 20 ml of 2% mepivacaine. The brachial plexus blocks were performed in a sequential manner. Surgery was unremarkable, and patient was transferred to post anesthetic care unit in stable condition. Over that first postoperative night, the patient complained of severe pain at the surgical sites with minimal pain relief with parentral opioids. We placed bilateral brachial plexus catheters (right axillary and left infra-clavicular brachial plexus catheters). Ropivacaine 0.2% infusion was started at 7 ml per hour basal rate only with no boluses on each side. The patient was discharged home with the catheters in place after receiving the appropriate education. On discharge both catheters were connected to a single ON-Q (I-flow Corporation, Lake Forest, CA) ball pump with a 750 ml reservoir using a Y connection and were set to deliver a fixed rate of 7 ml for each catheter. The brachial plexus catheters were removed by the patient on day 5 after surgery without any difficulty. Patient's postoperative course was otherwise unremarkable. We concluded that home going catheters are very effective in pain control postoperatively and they shorten the period of hospital stay.



Brachial plexus; Home going catheters; Post-operative pain

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