Continuous Infusion of Lidocaine

I covered the 2015 version of meta-analysis back in April when I couldn’t get my hands on this one, the 2018 version. I appreciate the Cochrane Library for making this free. You could get to it from my website. The last time I posted about Lidocaine was in April when I had fewer than 1500 followers and this community is extremely helpful in shaping how we all practice. Not to mention that my posts at that time were even harder to read than they are now! Let’s take a look at providing a lidocaine infusion to our hypothetical patient.

At that time, a follower named @ameliahlaws commented on how her shop uses lidocaine for their trauma patients and have seen great results. That was definitely encouraging. I do not have experience with this in my practice because it cannot be used in patients with renal nor heart failure due to the active metabolites which can cause accumulation and toxicity respectively. As I primarily take care of medical ICU patients at the moment, using this medication would not be helpful.

This meta-analysis was one heck of an endeavor. Let me summarize the 285 pages in several words: we need more data. That was the conclusion that these authors came to as well because ultimately the quality of the data is so poor, or how they described it “very low quality”. It hurts to write that because, as many of you know, I do not do research myself, and that seems like a kick in the face to those out there who work so hard doing the necessary research that ultimately improves patient care.

I have added the Forest Plots to my slides because they look pretty and make it seem like it’s of substantial impact but in reality it’s not. Sigh.

As mentioned, many of the findings were “very low quality”. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work, nor that future studies won’t prove that it does work, but rather that we just don’t know YET.
The authors are recommending someone, anyone, conduct a study with more than 200 patients. I guess that’s why this is “cutting edge” stuff at the time of this post. They also cannot make any recommendations regarding dosing, duration, timing, and the type of surgery where this would benefit the most. Check out more content such as this on my pain and delirium post here.

Weibel S, Jelting Y, Pace NL, Helf A, Eberhart LH, Hahnenkamp K, Hollmann MW, Poepping DM, Schnabel A, Kranke P. Continuous intravenous perioperative lidocaine infusion for postoperative pain and recovery in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Jun 4;6(6):CD009642. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009642.pub3. PMID: 29864216; PMCID: PMC6513586.
Link to Article