Current Issue - July/August 2020 - Vol 23 Issue 4


  1. 2020;23;423-428Lidocaine Versus Bupivacaine in the Treatment of Headache with Intranasal Sphenopalatine Nerve Block
    Retrospective Review
    Daniel L. Kirkpatrick, MD, Tricia Townsend, BS, Carissa Walter, MPH, Lauren Clark, MS, Adam Alli, MD, Thomas Fahrbach, MD, E. John Madarang, MD, Steven Lemons, MD, Alan Reeves, MD, and Zachary Collins, MD.

BACKGROUND: Intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block has been shown to be an effective treatment for headaches. Multiple therapeutic agents have been studied, although the wide availability and low cost of lidocaine and bupivacaine have made them attractive treatment options. To the authors knowledge, no study has yet demonstrated superiority of one anesthetic over the other.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of lidocaine versus bupivacaine when performing intranasal sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block for the treatment of headaches.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: A single tertiary care academic institution

METHODS: This retrospective study identified patients who underwent SPG block at a single institution from January 1, 2014 to December 20, 2017. Patients were included if they were treated with either lidocaine or bupivacaine and had both pre- and post-procedure pain scores recorded on a 0-10 scale. Patients were excluded if they were less than 18 years of age.

RESULTS: 386 total procedures were performed. 303 (78.5%) were lidocaine delivered via the SphenoCath device, and 83 (21.5%) were bupivacaine delivered via the Tx360 device. 90.2% of treatments (n = 348) decreased the patient’s pain level. Of the treatments performed with lidocaine, 89.1% (n = 270) resulted in improvement of the patient’s pain level with a mean decrease in pain level of 3.1 (SD ± 2.3). Of the treatments performed with bupivacaine, 94.0% (n = 78) resulted in improvement of the patient’s pain level, with a mean decrease in pain level of 3.0 (SD ± 1.9). No statistically significant difference was found between the 2 anesthetics.

LIMITATIONS: The retrospective study design may introduce selection bias. Both lidocaine and bupivacaine were administered by different devices (Sphenocath and Tx360 respectively) which may account for differences in initial treatment success. There were differences in the size of the two groups, which may also introduce error.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates similar efficacy of SPG block performed with lidocaine or bupivacaine. While no difference was found, the particular advantages and disadvantages of the intranasal delivery device may influence physician choice.

KEY WORDS: Sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block, lidocaine, bupivacaine, sphenocath, Tx360, pain intervetnio, headache, miimally invasive therapy