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The Use of Intravenous Lidocaine as an Analgesic Modality in the Austere Environment: Two Cases

      Providing effective analgesia for trauma in austere settings is particularly difficult and often complicated by equipment and medication limitations and harsh environmental conditions. Common modalities that are employed in conventional clinical practices may not be available or pragmatic in austere environments. Furthermore, side effects such as sedation, altered mentation, or hypoxemia require additional resources and attention. We report 2 cases that demonstrate the use of intravenous lidocaine for the management of acute pain, secondary to trauma, in an austere environment. In the first, the administration of intravenous lidocaine reduced pain, secondary to a tibia fracture, thereby facilitating splinting. In the second, a patient, who had sustained rib fractures, was also treated with intravenous lidocaine. In this case, the analgesic effects of the medication resulted in reduction in pain and improvement in pulmonary function. Of note, the narrow therapeutic window of this modality was made evident as both patients transiently experienced tinnitus following the initial lidocaine bolus. This report describes 2 cases in which intravenous lidocaine was used to manage acute pain, in an austere environment, while avoiding many of the detrimental effects that accompany alternative analgesics.

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