Bilateral thoracic paravertebral nerve blocks for placement of percutaneous radiologic gastrostomy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a case series

download PDF


Arun Kalava1,2, Steven Clendenen1, J Mark McKinney1, Elird Bojaxhi1, Roy Greengrass1

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, USA

2 Department of Anesthesiology, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA


Background and Aims: To assess the efficacy of bilateral thoracic paravertebral nerve blocks (PVB) in providing procedural anesthesia and post-procedural analgesia for placement of percutaneous radiologic gastrostomy tubes (PRG) in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Methods: We prospectively observed 10 patients with ALS scheduled for PRG placement that had bilateral thoracic PVBs at thoracic 7, 8, and 9 levels with administration of a mixture of 3 mL of 1% ropivacaine, 0.5 mg/mL dexamethasone, and 5 μg/mL epinephrine at each level. The success of the block was assessed after 10 minutes. PRG placement was done in the interventional radiology suite without sedation. All patients were followed up via phone 24 hours after the procedure.

Results: All 10 patients had successful placement of PRG with PVBs as the primary anesthetic. Segmental anesthesia over the surgical site in all cases was successful with first attempt of the blocks. Three patients had significant hypotension after the block, requiring boluses of vasopressors and intravenous fluids. All patients reported high levels of satisfaction and sleep quality on the night of the procedure.

Conclusions: Bilateral thoracic PVBs provided satisfactory procedural anesthesia and post-procedural analgesia, and thus, seem promising as a safe alternative to sedation in ALS patients having PRG placement.

Keywords: thoracic paravertebral nerve blocks, percutaneous radiological gastrostomy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Top Articles