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HOW TO CONTROL POSTOPERATIVE PAIN  PIEMONTESE SURGICAL SOCIETY


Minerva Chirurgica 2003 December;58(6):857-60

Copyright © 2003 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

How to control postoperative pain: epidural analgesia

Gianferrari P., Voltolina M., Clara M. E., Marzullo A., Campra D.


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Background. Epidural analgesia is one of the most effective regimens for postoperative pain relief after abdominal surgery. The use of epidural analgesia in high risk patients has been associated with significant decrease in surgical stress response, in cardiac and pulmonary morbidity, in recovery of gastrointestinal function and in thromboembolic events. The aim of this paper is to describe pain relief, side effects and recovery of gastrointestinal function during epidural analgesia.
Methods. During the period January 1999 to September 2001, 590 patients undergoing elective major abdominal surgery received epidural analgesia. Epidural catheters were inserted at T8-T9 (upper abdominal surgery) or T9-T11 (lower abdominal surgery) and ropivacaine 0.5% ml 7-12 combined with sufentanil 30 mg or with morphine 2 mg was injected. General anesthesia was induced and a continuous epidural infusion of ropivacaine 0.5% 5-10 ml/h was begun. Postoperatively, continuous epidural administration of ropivacaine 0.2% plus sufentanil 0.5 mg/ml or ropivacaine 0.2% plus morphine 0.02 mg/ml was continued. Data on the quality of analgesia, recovery of gastrointestinal function and all side effects were recorded for 4 days.
Results. Resting and incident pain scores were <4 and <5; 20% of patients received a rescue dose; the incidence of nausea was 6%, pruritus 5%; all patients also recovered from postoperative ileus.
Conclusions. Continuous epidural analgesia resulted in good pain relief, provided the best balance of analgesia and side effects and improved postoperative outcome.

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