Regional Nerve Blocks Improve Pain and Functional Outcomes in Hip Fracture: A Randomized Controlled Trial

R. Sean Morrison, Eitan Dickman, Ula Hwang, Saadia Akhtar, Taja Ferguson, Jennifer Huang, Christina L. Jeng, Bret P. Nelson, Meg A. Rosenblatt, Jeffrey H. Silverstein, Reuben J. Strayer, Toni M. Torrillo, Knox H. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compared outcomes of regional nerve blocks with those of standard analgesics after hip fracture. Design: Multisite randomized controlled trial from April 2009 to March 2013. Setting: Three New York hospitals. Participants: Individuals with hip fracture (N = 161). Intervention: Participants were randomized to receive an ultrasound-guided, single-injection, femoral nerve block administered by emergency physicians at emergency department (ED) admission followed by placement of a continuous fascia iliaca block by anesthesiologists within 24 hours (n = 79) or conventional analgesics (n = 82). Measurements: Pain (0–10 scale), distance walked on Postoperative Day (POD) 3, walking ability 6 weeks after discharge, opioid side effects. Results: Pain scores 2 hours after ED presentation favored the intervention group over controls (3.5 vs 5.3, P =.002). Pain scores on POD 3 were significantly better for the intervention than the control group for pain at rest (2.9 vs 3.8, P =.005), with transfers out of bed (4.7 vs 5.9, P =.005), and with walking (4.1 vs 4.8, P =.002). Intervention participants walked significantly further than controls in 2 minutes on POD 3 (170.6 feet, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 109.3–232 vs 100.0 feet, 95% CI = 65.1–134.9; P =.04). At 6 weeks, intervention participants reported better walking and stair climbing ability (mean Functional Independence Measure locomotion score of 10.3 (95% CI = 9.6–11.0) vs 9.1 (95% CI = 8.2–10.0), P =.04). Intervention participants were significantly less likely to report opioid side effects (3% vs 12.4%, P =.03) and required 33% to 40% fewer parenteral morphine sulfate equivalents. Conclusion: Femoral nerve blocks performed by emergency physicians followed by continuous fascia iliaca blocks placed by anesthesiologists are feasible and result in superior outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2433-2439
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • functional recovery
  • hip fracture
  • pain


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