The role of transversus thoracic muscle plane blocks (TTMPBs) during cardiac surgery is controversial. We conducted a systematic review to establish the effectiveness of this procedure.
Systematic review. We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, CENTRAL, WanFang Data, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure to June 2022, and followed the GRADE approach to evaluate the certainty of evidence.
Study Eligibility Criteria:
Eligible studies enrolled adult patients scheduled to undergo cardiac surgery and randomized them to receive a TTMPB or no block/sham block.
Nine trials that enrolled 454 participants were included. Compared to no block/sham block, moderate certainty evidence found that TTMPB probably reduces postoperative pain at rest at 12 h [weighted mean difference (WMD) −1.51 cm on a 10 cm visual analogue scale for pain, 95% CI −2.02 to −1.00; risk difference (RD) for achieving mild pain or less (≤3 cm), 41%, 95% CI 17–65) and 24 h (WMD −1.07 cm, 95% CI −1.83 to −0.32; RD 26%, 95% CI 9–37). Moderate certainty evidence also supported that TTMPB probably reduces pain during movement at 12 h (WMD −3.42 cm, 95% CI −4.47 to −2.37; RD 46%, 95% CI 12–80) and at 24 h (WMD −1.73 cm, 95% CI −3.24 to −0.21; RD 32%, 95% CI 5–59), intraoperative opioid use [WMD −28 milligram morphine equivalent (MME), 95% CI −42 to −15], postoperative opioid consumption (WMD −17 MME, 95% CI −29 to −5), postoperative nausea and vomiting (absolute risk difference 255 less per 1000 persons, 95% CI 140–314), and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (WMD −13 h, 95% CI −21 to −6).
Moderate certainty evidence showed TTMPB during cardiac surgery probably reduces postoperative pain at rest and with movement, opioid consumption, ICU length of stay, and the incidence of nausea and vomiting.