Regional Anesthesia in Cardiac Surgery: A Review of the Literature.


West Florida


Oak Hill Hospital

Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date



adult cardiac surgery, cardiac anaesthesia, regional anesthesiology, review article, thoracic anesthesiology


Anesthesiology | Surgery


With our population getting older and sicker, we are witnessing a steady increase in the volume of cardiothoracic procedures performed. As the role of anesthesiologists continues to shift towards being perioperative physicians, it is crucial to tailor the anesthetic to manage the surgical pain in both intraoperative and postoperative periods. In cardiac surgery, poorly controlled surgical pain can lead to opioid-induced hyperalgesia as well as chronic pain syndrome. As current practice encourages early extubation and decreased length of stay, clinicians have increasingly steered away from heavy intraop narcotic therapy over the past two decades. To blunt the sympathetic response and postoperative pain control, some have been using various fascial plane nerve blocks to reduce opioid use during surgery. These blocks are considered very safe to perform and do not lead to hemodynamic changes seen in neuraxial blockades. In this review article, we provide a brief overview of each of the commonly used blocks and summarize and discuss the latest clinical data for each of the common blocks and their efficacy in the setting of cardiothoracic surgery.

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