We observed from our study that the technique of anaesthesia including regional anaesthesia, general anaesthesia or a combination of both did not have impact on major outcome after the surgical intervention for pelvi-acetabular fractures presenting to our apex trauma centre.
Perioperative management during pelvi-acetabular fracture surgeries determine the outcomes in terms of morbidity, mortality and eventually in-hospital duration of stay and treatment cost. There is an increase in the risk of complications and life-threatening events after a major surgery like pelvi-acetabular fracture surgeries. Conflict prevails whether the type of anaesthesia has any substantive effect on these risks [9, 10].
Neuraxial anaesthesia has several physiological effects like sympatholysis, and hence, we expect it to improve outcome by decreasing the blood loss and improved perioperative analgesia [11–13]. The multifactorial mechanisms for the beneficial effects of regional anaesthesia includes altered coagulation , increased blood flow, improved ability to breathe free of pain and reduction in surgical stress responses . In particular, neuraxial blockade but not general anaesthesia substantially reduces “stress response” of major surgery [11, 16]. Some studies have demonstrated the benefit of regional anaesthesia versus general anaesthesia with regard to perioperative complications which notably reduced operating time, lesser blood loss and major postoperative complications . However, pertaining to pelvi-acetabular fracture surgeries, as to our knowledge, supportive data is lacking.
Previous studies have shown that improved survival in patients randomized to neuraxial blockade [7, 17, 18]. In the regional group, they also found reductions in risk of transfusion requirement, venous thromboembolism , myocardial infarction, bleeding complications, pneumonia, respiratory depression and renal failure. They suggested that the benefits are principally due to the use of neuraxial blockade rather than avoidance of general anaesthesia. However, there was uncertainty of a clear evidence of these effects, in terms of the type of surgical group or the type of neuraxial blockade. Some of the previous studies have analysed that neuraxial block definitely reduces surgical blood loss considering certain surgeries . Although a review has negated this beneficial effect of regional anaesthesia with regard to total knee arthroplasty , others have concluded that this effect do not usually lead to a reduction in the number of transfused patients except for patients undergoing total hip replacement and spinal fusion . Hence a conflict prevails.
In the present analysis, the comparison of perioperative outcomes was similar in all the three groups. The days of hospital stays were equivalent so as the duration surgery in all the three groups. The intraoperative blood loss was comparable in all the three groups, and the difference was not significant. The least blood loss was seen in regional anaesthesia group, and this could be attributed to sympatholysis causing hypotension which subsequently would have caused decreased blood loss. With no change in hospital stay and equivalent operation time, it can be inferred that the type of anaesthesia may not affect the outcome of these pelvi-acetabular fractures.
The intraoperative complication like bronchospasm, hypotension and arrhythmia was similar in all the groups. This could be attributed to young demographic profile of the patients taken in our study . The increase in average age in all the groups could have some significant cardiovascular changes in the general anaesthesia group and that could have been statistically significant . The crystalloid and colloid requirement in all the groups is comparable. This could probably be because the regional anaesthesia does not cause marked hypotension as predicted, and therefore, the requirement of bolus crystalloid and colloid was not needed in our analysis. However, patient position approached statistical significance among the three groups (p = 0.002). Most of the surgeries done in a supine position were done under regional anaesthesia, as patients whose fractures were difficult to approach in a supine position were approached by a prone position and were give general anaesthesia or general anaesthesia and regional anaesthesia. However, this difference in position did not affect the perioperative outcome in all the three groups.
Postoperative complications and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions were comparable in all the three patient groups. Although, in G group, three patients required ICU admission, one patient had deep vein thrombosis and one had resurgery. Thus, it can be said that regional anaesthesia has no clear cut advantage in reducing the postoperative complication and ICU stay complying with Rashid et al. in hip fracture surgery .
The strength our study is that the scarce research is present in comparison of regional anaesthesia, general anaesthesia and combined regional general anaesthesia in pelvi-acetabular fracture surgeries. We compared not only the intraoperative complication but also the postoperative complication, ICU stay and total length of hospital stay. Our study may be limited by the fact that it was not a randomized prospective trial, and thus, bias may be present in view of retrospective analysis. Moreover our study did not include postoperative analgesia because of insufficient data. In addition, in our study, most of the patients were younger age group and may not be applicable to elderly patients. However, such traumatic injuries are more commonly seen in younger population in Indian subcontinent.