Paramedic-performed fascia iliaca compartment block for femoral fractures: A controlled trial

Paul McRae, Jason Bendall, Veronica Madigan, Paul Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Femoral (thigh) fractures are an important clinical problem commonly encountered by paramedics. These injuries are painful, and the need for extrication and transport adds complexity to the management of this condition. Whereas traditional analgesia involves parenteral opioids, regional nerve blockade for femoral fractures have been demonstrated to be effective when performed by physicians. Regional peripheral nerve blockade performed by paramedics may be suitable in the prehospital setting.
Study Objectives: To examine the efficacy and feasibility of paramedic-performed fascia iliaca compartment block (FICB) for patients with suspected hip or femur fractures in the prehospital setting compared to intravenous morphine alone.
Methods: Prior to treatment allocation, all patients received a loading dose of morphine intravenously, then received either 1) FICB using lidocaine with epinephrine; or 2) standard care (further intravenous morphine only) in this nonblinded, randomized control trial. Participants rated their pain using a standard 11-point verbal numerical rating scale prior to and 15 min after receiving the allocated treatment. Secondary outcomes included effectiveness at other time points and incidence of adverse effects.
Results: We analyzed 11 and 13 patients in the FICB and standard care groups, respectively. Patients treated with FICB had a greater reduction in their median pain score than patients in the standard care group (50% vs. 22%, p = 0.025) after 15 min. In the FICB group, median pain scores decreased by 5 (interquartile range 4–6), compared to 2 (interquartile range 0–4) in the standard care group. The FICB procedure did not significantly impact on scene times. No immediately obvious adverse events were noted in the 11 participants who received FICB from paramedics.
Conclusion: The study suggests that FICB can be performed by trained paramedics for patients with suspected femoral fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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