Comparison of US-Guided Paravertebral and Proximal Intercostal Nerve Blocks

2016-09-22 20:53:30 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to compare the proximal intercostal block to the more medial (classic) ultrasound-guided paravertebral block. The investigators hypothesize that the proximal intercostal block will allow for improved needle visualization, shorter block time, and improved safety profile compared to the classic paravertebral bock.


Although previous studies have made advances towards applying ultrasound guidance to the performance of paravertebral blocks (PVB), a technique combining both safety and technical ease remains elusive. The ideal technique (1) permits continuous visualization of the entire needle shaft and tip, (2) avoids aiming the needle tip and injectate directly toward the neuraxis or lung, and (3) is easy to perform. Visualization of all structures by ultrasound is essential to minimize the risk of vascular puncture, nerve root or spinal cord injury, and pneumothorax. Failure to consistently and quickly identify the transverse process and pleura, as occurs when using older techniques, results in several needle redirections, causing pain and discomfort to patients, and increases the potential risk of pneumothorax. The technical difficulty of applying previously-described US-guided techniques takes an inordinate amount of time and is clinically less practical within a busy surgical practice.

In the current study, the investigators describe a novel, modified approach to real-time ultrasound-guided single shot paravertebral blockade, the proximal intercostal block (PICB), which utilizes a sagittal paramedian US probe placement to identify the intercostal space and PVS. In this method, instead of placing the probe at a fixed traditional distance of 2.5 cm from the spinous processes, the probe is moved laterally to obtain a comprehensive image, with a clear view of the ribs, internal intercostal membrane, and the parietal pleura.

The investigators propose that moving the probe laterally towards the proximal intercostal space allows clearer simultaneous visualization of both pleura and needle as it advances towards the PVS, while achieving comparable injectate spread and, ultimately, similar or better clinical results. Such improved visualization will reduce the number of needle passes, increase confidence in the user, decrease block placement time, and improve overall block success. This technique combines the advantages of more lateral approaches (better visualization of structures, in particular the pleura) with the advantage of the more medial approaches (in-plane, closer, and not directed at the neuraxis).

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Basic Science




Proximal Intercostal Block, Paravertebral Block


Brigham and Women's Hospital
United States




Brigham and Women's Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-09-22T20:53:30-0400

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