Continuing Education Activity
Approximately 10 percent of injured patients presenting to the emergency department are found to have rib fractures. Rib fractures are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, especially in the elderly. Pulmonary complications, including pneumonia, often become apparent 2 to 3 days after the initial injury, when respiratory function becomes compromised secondary to pain. Therefore, effective analgesia is an important component of rib fracture management. Intravenous opioids are a mainstay of treatment but have side effects, including respiratory depression, depressed cough reflex, and delirium in the elderly. The ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block (SAPB) is a popular alternative due to its efficacy, relative ease, and limited side-effect profile. This activity reviews the technique for performing an ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block and its indications and contraindications. This activity highlights the role of the interprofessional team in managing analgesia.
- Describe the technique involved in performing an ultrasound-guided serratus anterior plane block.
- Review the indications for a serratus anterior plane block.
- Summarize the complications associated with serratus anterior plane blocks.
- Explain the importance of improving communication and care coordination among the interprofessional team to ensure the safe performance of the serratus anterior plane block and improve patient outcomes.