Regional analgesia and surgical site infections after colorectal surgery: a retrospective cohort analysis

Gausan Ratna Bajracharya, Wael Ali Sakr Esa, Guangmei Mao, Steve Leung, Barak Cohen, Kamal Maheshwari, Hermann P. Kessler, Emre Gorgun, Daniel I. Sessler, Alparslan Turan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The effect of regional analgesia on perioperative infectious complications remains unknown. We therefore tested the hypothesis that a composite of serious infections after colorectal surgery is less common in patients with regional analgesia than in those given Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia (IV-PCA) with opiates. Methods: Patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery lasting one hour or more under general anesthesia at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus between 2009 and 2015 were included in this retrospective analysis. Exposures were defined as regional postoperative analgesia with epidurals or Transversus Abdominis Plane blocks (TAP); or IV-PCA with opiates only. The outcome was defined as a composite of in-hospital serious infections, including intraabdominal abscess, pelvic abscess, deep or organ-space Surgical Site Infection (SSI), clostridium difficile, pneumonia, or sepsis. Logistic regression model adjusted for the imbalanced potential confounding factors among the subset of matched surgeries was used to report the odds ratios along with 95% confidence limits. The significance criterion was p < 0.05. Results: A total of 7811 patients met inclusion and exclusion criteria of which we successfully matched 681 regional anesthesia patients to 2862 IV-PCA only patients based on propensity scores derived from potential confounding factors. There were 82 (12%) in-hospital postoperative serious infections in the regional analgesia group vs. 285 (10%) in IV-PCA patients. Regional analgesia was not significantly associated with serious infection (odds ratio: 1.14; 95% Confidence Interval 0.87‒1.49; p-value = 0.339) after adjusting for surgical duration and volume of intraoperative crystalloids. Conclusion: Regional analgesia should not be selected as postoperative analgesic technique to reduce infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalBrazilian Journal of Anesthesiology (English Edition)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Analgesia, patient-controlled
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Opiate alkaloids
  • Regional analgesia
  • Sepsis
  • Surgical wound infection


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