Paravertebral anaesthesia for breast surgery an initial experience at the University Hospital of the West Indies.


Paravertebral blockade (PVB) is a regional anaesthetic technique that allows the injection of local anaesthetic agents into the paravertebral space. It has been used for acute and chronic pain relief and as an anaesthetic technique for unilateral surgery of the chest, breast, shoulder, kidney, and inguinal region. Paravertebral blockade has been performed on a limited basis for breast surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) since 1998. This retrospective review was undertaken to report the initial experience with this block. We reviewed the notes of all patients who were given a PVB alone, or in combination with general anaesthesia (GA). Twenty-one patients had P VB: twenty females and one male, with age range of 24 to 90 years. Six were attempted with PVB alone, but two of these needed supplementation with a GA. Fifteen were done in combination with GA. No complications were recorded The initial experience shows that the performance of PVB is both possible and safe; it may offer an alternative to GA for breast surgery. A randomized prospective study is underway to allow a detailed comparison between the two methods.

The West Indian medical journal