• Anesthesiology · Oct 2006

    Randomized Controlled Trial Comparative Study

    Postoperative analgesia after radical retropubic prostatectomy: a double-blind comparison between low thoracic epidural and patient-controlled intravenous analgesia.

    • Anil Gupta, Federica Fant, Kjell Axelsson, Dag Sandblom, Jan Rykowski, Jan-Erik Johansson, and Swen-Olof Andersson.
    • Departments of Medicine, Division of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Orebro University Hospital, SE-701 85 Orebro, Sweden. anil.gupta@orebroll.se
    • Anesthesiology. 2006 Oct 1; 105 (4): 784-93.

    BackgroundPostoperative pain after radical retropubic prostatectomy can be severe unless adequately treated. Low thoracic epidural analgesia and patient-controlled intravenous analgesia were compared in this double-blind, randomized study.MethodsSixty patients were randomly assigned to receive either low thoracic epidural analgesia (group E) or patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (group P) for postoperative pain relief. All patients had general anesthesia combined with thoracic epidural analgesia during the operation. Postoperatively, patients in group E received an infusion of 1 mg/ml ropivacaine, 2 microg/ml fentanyl, and 2 microg/ml adrenaline, 10 ml/h during 48 h epidurally, and a placebo patient-controlled intravenous analgesia pump intravenously. Patients in group P received a patient-controlled intravenous analgesia pump with morphine intravenously and 10 ml/h placebo epidurally. Pain, the primary outcome variable, was measured using the numeric rating scale at rest (incision pain and "deep" visceral pain) and on coughing. Secondary outcome variables included gastrointestinal function, respiratory function, mobilization, and full recovery. Health-related quality of life was measured using the Short Form-36 questionnaire, and plasma concentration of fentanyl was measured in five patients to exclude a systemic effect of fentanyl.ResultsIncisional pain and pain on coughing were lower in group E compared with group P at 2-24 h, as was deep pain between 3 and 24 h postoperatively (P < 0.05). Maximum expiratory pressure was greater in group E at 4 and 24 h (P < 0.05) compared with group P. No difference in time to home discharge was found between the groups. The mean plasma fentanyl concentration varied from 0.2 to 0.3 ng/ml during 0-48 h postoperatively. At 1 month, the scores on emotional role, physical functioning, and general health of the Short Form-36 were higher in group E compared with group P. However, no group x time interaction was found in the Short Form-36.ConclusionsThe authors found evidence for better pain relief and improved expiratory muscle function in patients receiving low thoracic epidural analgesia compared with patient-controlled analgesia for radical retropubic prostatectomy. Low thoracic epidural analgesia can be recommended as a good method for postoperative analgesia after abdominal surgery.

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