Adequate pre-operative analgesia for elderly patients with femoral neck fractures is difficult to assess and is often an overseen aspect of their care. We aimed to assess the efficacy of fascia iliaca blocks inserted via plexus blockade catheters in the pre-operative period. Our simple technique allowed the block to be administered safely without the need for a nerve stimulator. We assessed the effectiveness of the block with a novel objective sitting score and by assessing the degree of passive hip flexion that could be achieved comfortably. Visual analogue scores were also used. We studied 30 consecutive patients, regardless of their mental state. One hour following the block, there was a significant improvement in the sitting scores as well as the passive hip flexion (mean increase 44 degrees ). Visual analogue scores also score improved significantly from 7.2 to 4.6 (S.D. 2.4) in the 18 patients without cognitive impairment. We conclude that fascia iliaca blocks can provide significant benefit in the pre-operative period and allow patients to sit up more comfortably while they await surgery.

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