Update on the role of paravertebral blocks for thoracic surgery: Are they worth it?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review To consider optimal analgesic strategies for thoracic surgical patients. Recent findings Recent studies have consistently suggested analgesic equivalence between paravertebral and thoracic epidural analgesia. Complications appear to be significantly less common with paravertebral analgesia. Summary There is good evidence that paravertebral block can provide acceptable pain relief compared with thoracic epidural analgesia for thoracotomy. Important side-effects such as hypotension, urinary retention, nausea, and vomiting appear to be less frequent with paravertebral block than with thoracic epidural analgesia. Paravertebral block is associated with better pulmonary function and fewer pulmonary complications than thoracic epidural analgesia. Importantly, contraindications to thoracic epidural analgesia do not preclude paravertebral block, which can also be safely performed in anesthetized patients without an apparent increased risk of neurological injury. The place of paravertebral block in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is less clear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anaesthesiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Complications
  • Paravertebral block
  • Postoperative pain
  • Thoracic epidural
  • Thoracotomy
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

Cite this