Predicting successful supraclavicular brachial plexus block using pulse oximeter perfusion index.

Abdelnasser, A., B. Abdelhamid, A. Elsonbaty, A. Hasanin, and A. Rady, "Predicting successful supraclavicular brachial plexus block using pulse oximeter perfusion index.", British journal of anaesthesia, vol. 119, issue 2, pp. 276-280, 2017 Aug 01.


Background: Supraclavicular nerve block is a popular approach for anaesthesia for upper limb surgeries. Conventional methods for evaluation of block success are time consuming and need patient cooperation. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the perfusion index (PI) can be used to predict and provide a cut-off value for ultrasound-guided supraclavicular nerve block success.

Methods: The study included 77 patients undergoing elective orthopaedic procedures under ultrasound-guided supraclavicular nerve block. After local anaesthetic injection, sensory block success was assessed every 3 min by pinprick, and motor block success was assessed every 5 min by the ability to flex the elbow and the hand against resistance. The PI was recorded at baseline and at 10, 20, and 30 min after anaesthetic injection in both blocked and non-blocked limbs. The PI ratio was calculated as the PI after 10 min divided by the PI at the baseline. Receiver operating characteristic curves were constructed for the accuracy of the PI in detection of block success.

Results: The PI was higher in the blocked limb at all time points, and this was paralleled by a higher PI ratio compared with the unblocked limb. Both the PI and the PI ratio at 10 min after injection showed a sensitivity and specificity of 100% for block success at cut-off values of 3.3 and 1.4, respectively.

Conclusions: The PI is a useful tool for evaluation of successful supraclavicular nerve block. A PI ratio of > 1.4 is a good predictor for block success.