Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Matthew Bednarchik

Project Team Faculty Member

Rebecca Collier

Project Team Faculty Member

Wesley Gallagher


erector spinae plane block, ESP block, epidural, abdominal surgery, pain, postoperative analgesia, fascial plane block


A large tertiary care center in central Illinois saw an increase in erector spinae plane (ESP) block administration for abdominal surgery patients, but many anesthesia providers at the facility were not acquainted with the ESP block. This project aimed to develop a comprehensive educational program concerning the ESP block compared to thoracic epidural analgesia for major abdominal surgery patients and ultimately improve patient care. The program introduced the relevant anatomy, indications, technique, advantages, and disadvantages of ESP block and epidural analgesia. Additionally, the risks, benefits, and costs of both adjunctive therapies were compared. The current literature shows that the thoracic epidural is the gold standard for pain control following major abdominal surgery, but the ESP block can be an effective alternative for patients where an epidural is contraindicated or undesirable. The ESP block has fewer complications compared to an epidural, but the safety profile depends on vigilant monitoring and management. Seven anesthesia providers attending the educational seminar agreed to take an anonymous pretest and posttest to evaluate the knowledge they gained from the program. The mean of the pretest and posttest were 65% and 86% respectively. The two-tailed P value equaled 0.0002 meaning that the posttest scores showed an extremely statistically significant improvement compared to the pretest scores. This project gave anesthesia providers the information necessary for them to make clinical judgments that are in the best interest of their patients thus improving patient care, safety, and satisfaction.

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