Ropivacaine or 2% mepivacaine for lower limb peripheral nerve blocks

Andrea Casati, Guido Fanelli, Battista Borghi, Giorgio Torri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intra- and postoperative clinical properties of sciatic- femoral nerve block performed with either ropivacaine at different concentrations or mepivacaine have been evaluated in a multicenter, randomized, blinded study. Methods: Adult patients scheduled for foot and ankle surgery were randomized to receive combined sciatic-femoral nerve block with 225 mg of either 0.5% (n = 83), 0.75% (n = 87), or 1% (n = 86) ropivacaine, or with 500 mg of 2% mepivacaine (n = 84). A thigh tourniquet was used in all patients. Onset time, adequacy of surgical anesthesia, time to offset of nerve block, and time until first postoperative requirement for pain medication were evaluated by a blinded observer. Results: The adequacy of nerve block was similar in the four treatment groups (the ratios between adequate:inadequate: failed blocks were 74:9:0 with 0.5% ropivacaine, 74:13:0 with 0.75% ropivacaine, 78:8:0 with 1% ropivacaine, and 72:12:0 with 2% mepivacaine). The onset of the block was slower with 0.5% ropivacaine than with other anesthetic solutions (P <0.001). Regardless of the concentration, ropivacaine produced a longer motor blockade (10.5 ± 3.8 h, 10.3 ± 4.3 h, and 10.2 ± 5.1 h with 0.5%, 0.75%, and 1% ropivacaine, respectively) than with mepivacaine (4.3 ± 2.6 h; P <0.001). The duration of postoperative analgesia was shorter after mepivacaine (5.1 ± 2.7 h) than after ropivacaine (12.2 ± 4.1 h, 14.3 ± 5 h, and 14.5 ± 3.4 h, with 0.5%, 0.75%, or 1% ropivacaine, respectively; P <0.001). Pain relief after 0.5% ropivacaine was 14% shorter than 0.75% or 1% ropivacaine (P <0.05). During the first 24 h after surgery, 30-37% of patients receiving ropivacaine required no analgesics compared with 10% of those receiving mepivacaine (P <0.001). Conclusions: This study suggests that 0.75% ropivacaine is the most suitable choice of local anesthetic for combined sciatic-femoral nerve block, providing an onset similar to mepivacaine and prolonged postoperative analgesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1052
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • Femoral nerve block
  • Lower limb orthopedic surgery
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Sciatic nerve block

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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