Article Text

  1. Jenna Bulger1,
  2. Simon Ford2,
  3. Ian Pallister2,
  4. Nigel Rees3,
  5. Daphne Russell1,
  6. Ian Russell1,
  7. Helen Snooks1
  1. 1Swansea University
  2. 2Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Trust
  3. 3Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust


Objective To identify and estimate the effectiveness of interventions to provide analgesia for patients with femoral fracture in the emergency pre-hospital setting.

Methods We searched the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, HMIC, Medline, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, grey literature and citations of included studies. We included randomised trials and observational studies that included pain score measurements. We carried out a meta-analysis using Review Manager.

Results We identified 858 studies and assessed 36 full articles for eligibility. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria, including 478 patients. Five studies were randomised controlled trials, comparing outcomes between: fascia iliaca compartment block (FICB) with standard care; femoral nerve block with standard care; Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) with placebo; auricular acupressure with sham acupressure; and simple splints with traction splints. Two cohort studies included comparisons of pain scores with and without FICB. Three uncontrolled observational studies reported effects of FICB. Meta-analysis of four randomised studies with 227 patients showed that, compared with control, proactive interventions reduced pain scores by 1.9 standard deviations (95% CI from 1.1 to 2.7; p<0.0001); but these trials were clinically and statistically heterogeneous.

Conclusions Current published research suggests that interventions to enhance the provision of analgesia for femoral fracture in emergency pre-hospital care reduce pain scores significantly more than standard care. However, as only five randomised studies are available with a range of diverse interventions, further research is warranted.

  • prehospital care

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