Keeping the Finger on the Pulse: Cardiac Arrhythmias in Hand Surgery Using Local Anesthesia with Adrenaline

Amir Herman, Tal Kalimian, Ohad Segal, Amir Cohen, Avishag Laish-Farkash, Uri Farkash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) technique in hand surgery is gaining popularity. The authors aimed to prospectively analyze the frequency and type of arrhythmias in patients undergoing hand surgery under local anesthesia and to examine whether the addition of adrenaline affects their incidence. Methods: Adult patients undergoing hand surgery under local anesthesia were randomized into two groups: Group 1, local anesthesia with lidocaine and tourniquet; and group 2, local anesthesia with lidocaine and adrenaline (WALANT). Patients with a history of arrhythmias were excluded. Patients were connected to Holter electrocardiographic monitoring before surgery and up until discharge. The records were blindly compared between the groups regarding types of arrhythmias, and frequency and timing relative to injection and tourniquet inflation. Results: One hundred two patients were included between August of 2018 and August of 2019 (age, 59.7 ± 13.6 years; 71 percent women; 51 in each group). No major arrhythmia (ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, atrial fibrillation) or arrhythmia-related symptoms were recorded for either group. Minor arrhythmias (including atrial premature beats, ventricular premature beats, and atrial tachycardia) were recorded in 68 patients (66.6 percent), with no statistical difference between the groups. There were three patients with minor arrhythmias during inflation of the tourniquet. Patients in the adrenaline group had 2 percent sinus tachycardia during injection and 4 percent asymptomatic bradyarrhythmias. These findings do not require any further treatment. Conclusions: The authors' results show that hand operations using WALANT technique in patients with no history of arrhythmia are safe and are not arrhythmogenic; therefore, there is no need for routine perioperative continuous electrocardiographic monitoring. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54E-60E
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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