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Dextrose 5% in water: fluid medium for maintaining electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves during stimulating catheter placement

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It is well documented that a higher electrical current is required to elicit a motor response following a normal saline (NS) injection during the placement of stimulating catheters for peripheral nerve block. We present three cases of continuous brachial plexus catheter placement in which Dextrose 5% in water (D5W) was used to dilate the perineural space instead of NS. Three brachial plexus blocks (two interscalene and one axillary) were performed in three different patients for pain relief. In each case, an insulated needle was advanced towards the brachial plexus. A corresponding motor response was elicited with a current less than 0.5 mA after needle repositioning. A stimulating catheter was advanced with ease after 3–5 ml of D5W was injected to dilate the perineural space. A corresponding motor response was maintained when the current applied to the stimulating catheter was less than 0.5 mA. Local anesthetic was then injected and the motor response immediately ceased. All blocks were successful and provided excellent pain relief with the continuous infusion of local anesthetics.

Keywords: Brachial plexus block; minimum amperage; nerve stimulation; stimulating catheters

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, and 2: Department of Anesthesia, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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