Stimulating versus non-stimulating catheter for lumbar plexus continuous infusion after total hip replacement

Gianluca Cappelleri, Daniela Ghisi, Andrea L Ambrosoli, Alice Ascari, Elisa Compagnino, Marco Gemma, Giorgio Danelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: This study was aimed to investigate whether stimulating catheters for continuous lumbar plexus block reduce local anesthetic consumption after hip arthroplasty if compared with traditional non-stimulating catheters.

METHODS: Seventy-two ASA I-III, 18-82 year-old, undergoing primary hip replacement (THA) for osteoarthritis with spinal anesthesia were randomized into two groups: Stim group (stimulating catheter, n=36) and Nonstim group (non-stimulating catheter, n=36). After surgery, 15 ml of mepivacaine 1% were administered in both groups through the catheter. An electronic pump was connected to deliver ropivacaine 0.2% (3 ml/h, bolus 3 ml, lock out 15 min) for the first 72h. Patients were given ketorolac 30 mg i.v. every 8h, acetaminophen 1g i.v. every 8h and oxycodone 10 mg per os for rescue analgesia. Primary outcome was postoperative local anesthetic consumption. Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), complications, both quadriceps and obturator strength measurements, and opioid requirement were also registered. Mixed effect models (random intercept) were built for repeated measures over time. A difference between groups was considered statistically significant if p< 0.05.

RESULTS: Local anesthetic consumption and NRS were comparable between groups. Patients in the Nonstim group required significant more rescue opioid analgesia compared with the Stim group during the first 36h (p = 0.002). Quadriceps and adductor muscle strength was equally preserved in the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The study showed comparable local anesthetic consumption, pain scores and muscle strength preservation between the two groups. The stimulating catheter allowed a significant, although underpowered, reduction in opioid consumption.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 11 2018


  • Lumbar plexus block
  • Stimulating catheter
  • Total hip arthroplasty


Dive into the research topics of 'Stimulating versus non-stimulating catheter for lumbar plexus continuous infusion after total hip replacement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this