Acute Care Edinburgh

Coming soon: The Randomised Evaluation of early topical Lidocaine patches in Elderly patients admitted to hospital with rib Fractures (RELIEF): feasibility trial

RELIEF Feasibility Trial.

Trauma in older patients is a significant challenge for healthcare systems, with rib fractures representing the most common non-spinal fracture in older people. Opioid analgesia has been used for years for treatment of rib fractures.

However, the elderly population are particularly vulnerable to the side effects of opioid medication, such as pulmonary complications that often leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Alternatives such as thoracic epidural anaesthesia have been used to reduce these side effects. But require specialist anaesthetic support and intensive monitoring, as well as rarely being available soon after injury.

RELIEF aims to trial the use of non-invasive local anaesthesia in elderly rib fracture patients through topical lidocaine patches. Lidocaine patches are not currently licensed for use in the treatment of rib fractures, but have been used in the treatment of other pain such as shingles. There have been a small number of studies that have evaluated the use of lidocaine patches for the treatment of rib fractures. None of these have focussed on older patients however, who stand to benefit the most from improved analgesic regimens.

This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of the planned recruitment and data collection methods, in order to design a larger investigation into the performance of lidocaine patches in the older population.

Find out more about RELIEF