A comparison of three techniques for acute postoperative pain control following major abdominal surgery

Arie Shapiro, Edna Zohar, David Hoppenstein, Nisim Ifrach, Robert Jedeikin, Brian Fredman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Objectives: To compare the analgesic efficacy of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) alone (basic pain treatment) with that of NSAID in conjunction with either intravenous (IV) patient-controlled analgesia (IV-PCA) or intermittent epidural morphine (epidural morphine), among patients recovering from major intraabdominal surgery; and to assess the fixed and variable costs of providing the respective acute pain treatment modalities. Design: Prospective, nonrandomized study. Setting: Postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and surgical departments of a large referral hospital. Patients: All patients (n = 358) treated by our Acute Pain Service (APS) who were recovering from major intraabdominal surgery (colectomy, cholecystectomy, colostomy, gastrectomy, splenectomy). Measurements and Main Results: The structure of our APS, analgesic regimens, and the associated patient monitoring and event-response algorithms are detailed. Data of 358 patients recovering from major intraabdominal surgery and treated according to one of the three treatment protocols were collected and analyzed. The cost of providing our APS and the nursing time required to monitor and treat patients in each treatment group were also calculated. The median visual analog scale (VAS) scores were low in all three treatment groups (23.5 mm vs. 6 mm vs. 4, for the basic pain treatment, IV-PCA, and epidural morphine groups, respectively). However, the median VAS was significantly (p < 0.04) lower among patients who received epidural morphine than either the IV-PCA or basic pain treatment groups. Similarly, the number of patients who had at least one episode of a pain VAS > 30 mm was significantly (p < 0.04) lower in the epidural morphine group than either of the other two groups. The frequency of nausea and vomiting was similar among the groups. However, the frequency of postoperative pruritus was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the epidural morphine group than the other two groups. Patient satisfaction was unaffected by group allocation. Institutional costs per patient and the nursing time required to provide the APS were lowest in the basic pain treatment group. Conclusion: Considering the respective pain profiles, complication rates, and institutional costs associated with the three analgesic regimens analyzed, the basic pain Treatment alone constitutes a useful alternative to the other two analgesic regimens assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Acute Pain Service
  • Analgesia
  • Anesthesia
  • Health care economics
  • Postoperative pain

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