Transversus abdominis plane (TAP) blocks are associated with an improvement in postoperative analgesia following kidney transplant surgery. However, these blocks carry inherent risk and require a degree of expertise to perform successfully. Continuous intravenous lidocaine may be an effective alternative. In this randomized, non-inferiority study, we hypothesized that a continuous lidocaine infusion provides similar postoperative analgesia to a TAP block.
Subjects presenting for kidney transplant surgery were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to either an ultrasound-guided unilateral, single-injection TAP block (TAP group) or a continuous infusion of lidocaine (Lido group). The primary outcome of this non-inferiority study was opioid consumption within the first 24 hours following surgery. Secondary outcomes included pain scores, patient satisfaction, opioid-related adverse events, time to regular diet, and persistent opioid use.
One hundred and twenty subjects, 59 from the TAP group and 61 from the Lido group, completed the study per protocol. Analysis of the primary outcome showed a cumulative geometric mean intravenous morphine equivalent difference between the TAP (14.6±3.2 mg) and Lido (15.9±2.4 mg) groups of 1.27 mg (95% CI -4.25 to 6.79; p<0.001), demonstrating non-inferiority of the continuous lidocaine infusion. No secondary outcomes showed clinically meaningful differences between groups.
This study demonstrates that a continuous infusion of lidocaine offers non-inferior postoperative analgesia compared with an ultrasound-guided unilateral, single-injection TAP block in the first 24 hours following kidney transplant surgery.

© American Society of Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.