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R Poopalalingam, MYH Chow, LT Wong
Correspondence: R Poopalalingam, email@example.com
Background Epidural sufentanil can relieve postoperative pain after thoracic and upper abdominal surgery but it has some unwanted side effects. Patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) allows patients to titrate and reduce their analgesic requirements.
Objective The study aims to assess the use of demand-only PCEA after thoracotomy and upper abdominal surgery using sufentanil with or without bupivacaine in terms of pain control, amount of analgesic required and side effect profile.
Methods After the Hospital Ethics Committee approval and written informed consent, 34 ASA I and II patients were enrolled in this prospective, randomised, double-blinded controlled study. Post-operatively, after achieving adequate analgesia in the recovery, the patients were randomised to receive either sufentanil 1 microg/ml in normal saline (Group S) or sufentanil 1 microg/ml with bupivacaine 0.125% (Group SB) in a demand-only PCEA programme. Pain scores, side effects and amount of analgesia used were reviewed every hour.
Results The demographic profile of both groups was similar. The amount of sufentanil used was higher in Group S than in Group SB but it was not statistically significant. The numbers of patients with high pain scores at rest and during movement were not significantly different between the two groups. The side effect profiles of both groups were similar.
Conclusion The PCEA demand-only programme using sufentanil 1 microg/ml with and without bupivacaine 0.125% was satisfactory after thoracotomy and upper abdominal surgery in our patient population. The addition of bupivacaine to sufentanil did not significantly reduce the amount of sufentanil required, the pain scores or the side effects.
Keywords: patient-controlled epidural analgesia, sufentanil, local anaesthetics, bupivacaine, thoracic and upper abdominal surgery
Singapore Med J 2003; 44(3): 126-130