Effect of dexamethasone as an adjuvant with bupivacaine in ultrasound guided single shot supraclavicular brachial plexus block in upper extremity surgeries- a prospective randomized study

Shaheena Parveen, Masrat Jan, Arshi Taj, Arif A. Bhat


Background: Supraclavicular brachial plexus block is a good alternative to general anesthesia in surgeries of elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of dexamethasone as an adjuvant with bupivacaine in supraclavicular brachial plexus block in upper limb surgeries.

Methods: This study was carried out on 60 adult patients of both sexes planned for upper limb surgery during the period from May 2015 to Jan 2016 after approval by the institutional Ethical Committee. Inclusion criteria were American Society of Anesthesiologists physical Status I-II and age between 18 and 50 years. Patients were randomly allocated to two groups of 30 patients each [group I (bupivacaine alone) and group II (bupivacaine + dexamethasone)]. Group I received 30ml of 0.5% bupivacaine with 2ml normal saline while group II received 30ml of 0.5% bupivacaine with 2ml (8mg) dexamethasone for supraclavicular brachial plexus block. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA), version 16.0. For analysis of demographic data and comparison of groups, χ2, unpaired Student's t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test were performed. Power of significance p-value of <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. We evaluated onset, quality and duration of sensory and motor block along with side effects if any.

Results: The mean onset of sensory and motor block in Group I and II was statistically insignificant. The duration of motor and sensory block was significantly prolonged in Group II than in Group I. There were no statistically and clinically significant differences in respiratory and hemodynamic parameters.

Conclusions: We conclude that dexamethasone as an adjuvant in supraclavicular brachial plexus block prolongs the duration of motor and sensory block with insignificant side effects.


Analgesia, Brachial plexus block, Bupivacaine, Dexamethasone

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