Current Issue - May-June 2015 - Vol 18 Issue 3


  1. 2015;18;E421-E424Serratus Anterior Plane Block: A New Analgesic Technique for Post-Thoracotomy Pain
    Brief Commentary
    Rajashree Madabushi, MD, Saipriya Tewari, MD, Sujeet KS Gautam, MD, Amita Agarwal, MD, and Anil Agarwal, MD.

Pain following thoracotomy is of moderate to severe nature. Management of thoracotomy pain is a challenging task. Post thoracotomy pain has acute effects in the post operative period by affecting respiratory mechanics, which increases the morbidity. Poorly controlled thoracotomy pain in the acute phase may also lead to the development of a chronic pain syndrome. A young male patient underwent esophagectomy and esophago-gastric anastomosis for corrosive stricture of the esophagus. Epidural analgesia is standard of care for patients undergoing thoracotomy. Due to hypotension and fluid losses following surgery, he was maintained on intravenous sedato-analgesia during postoperative mechanical ventilation. The thoracic epidural catheter which was placed pre-operatively, had developed blockage during the hospital stay. However, during weaning from ventilation and sedation, he indicated severe pain in the thoracotomy incision. The pain was severe enough to impair tidal breathing. We wanted to evaluate the efficacy of the serratus anterior plane block in the management of thoracotomy pain. The usefulness of this block has been discussed in the management of pain of rib fractures and breast surgeries. Despite the hypothesis of its usefulness in causing anaesthesia of the hemithorax, there are no available reports of clinical use for pain relief following thoracotomy. We performed the serratus anterior place block under ultrasound guidance and placed a catheter for continuous infusion of local anaesthetic and opioid. The patient had significant pain relief following a single bolus of the drug. The infusion was started thereafter, which provided excellent analgesia and facilitated an uneventful recovery. Here, we describe the successful management of thoracotomy pain using the serratus anterior plane block.