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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 902174, 13 pages
Review Article

Perioperative Multimodal Anesthesia Using Regional Techniques in the Aging Surgical Patient

Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, 333 Cedar Street, P.O. Box 208051, New Haven, CT 06520-8051, USA

Received 13 July 2013; Revised 31 October 2013; Accepted 1 November 2013; Published 20 January 2014

Academic Editor: Steve McGaraughty

Copyright © 2014 Diana Nordquist and Thomas M. Halaszynski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Elderly patients have unique age-related comorbidities that may lead to an increase in postoperative complications involving neurological, pulmonary, cardiac, and endocrine systems. There has been an increase in the number of elderly patients undergoing surgery as this portion of the population is increasing in numbers. Despite advances in perioperative anesthesia and analgesia along with improved delivery systems, monotherapy with opioids continues to be the mainstay for treatment of postop pain. Reliance on only opioids can oftentimes lead to inadequate pain control or increase in the incidence of adverse events. Multimodal analgesia incorporating regional anesthesia is a promising alternative that may reduce needs for high doses and dependence on opioids along with any potential associated adverse effects. Methods. The following databases were searched for relevant published trials: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and PubMed. Textbooks and meeting supplements were also utilized. The authors assessed trial quality and extracted data. Conclusions. Multimodal drug therapy and perioperative regional techniques can be very effective to perioperative pain management in the elderly. Regional anesthesia as part of multimodal perioperative treatment can often reduce postoperative neurological, pulmonary, cardiac, and endocrine complications. Regional anesthesia/analgesia has not been proven to improve long-term morbidity but does benefit immediate postoperative pain control. In addition, multimodal drug therapy utilizes a variety of nonopioid analgesic medications in order to minimize dosages and adverse effects from opioids while maximizing analgesic effect and benefit.