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Pain therapy after thoracoscopic interventions. Do regional analgesia techniques (intercostal block or interpleural analgesia) have advantages over intravenous patient-controlled opioid analgesia (PCA)?



Pain therapy after thoracoscopic interventions. Do regional analgesia techniques (intercostal block or interpleural analgesia) have advantages over intravenous patient-controlled opioid analgesia (PCA)?



Der Chirurg; Zeitschrift für Alle Gebiete der Operativen Medizen 70(6): 682-689



Systemic opioids and thoracic epidural analgesia are common techniques used to provide post-operative analgesia following thoracoscopy (video-assisted thoracic surgery). The aim of the present prospective randomised study was to evaluate the efficacy of two less invasive analgesic techniques, intercostal blocks (ICB) and interpleural analgesia (IPA). After approval from the ethics committee and informed consent from the patients, 36 patients scheduled for thoracoscopic surgery were randomly assigned to a group for postoperative pain management: group ICB: intercostal blocks of the segments involved with 5 ml 0.5% bupivacaine at the end of surgery and 6 h later; group IPA: interpleural analgesia with 20 ml 0.25% bupivacaine applied every 4 h using a catheter placed during surgery near the apex of the interpleural space; control group: IV-opiod-PCA with piritamide. Patients in the ICB and IPA groups had access to pain relief by PCA with piritramide as well. Additional medication for all groups if the analgesia was insufficient consisted of metamizol. There were no significant differences in piritramide consumption between the two regional analgesia groups and the control group up to the 3rd and 7th postoperative day. Up to the 7th day piritramide consumption in group ICB was 78 mg, in group IPA 75 mg and 80 mg in the control group. Patients in group ICB showed significantly less pain at rest measured by the visual analogue scale (VAS) on the 1st postoperative day (U-test, P < 0.05), but otherwise there were no statistical differences regarding pain scores. Respiratory parameters such as forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, peak flow and the Tiffeneau test (FVC, FEV1, PF, FEV1/FVC) were reduced significantly after thoracoscopy and showed a slow recovery in all three groups without significant intergroup differences. Thoracoscopic surgery causes less and shorter lasting pain in comparison to thoracotomy. Nevertheless, effective pain management is necessary. We could not demonstrate a significant reduction in piritramide consumption for the techniques of regional analgesia tested here (ICB, IPA). We conclude that the use of these techniques is not complementary after thoracoscopy, since an opioid (PCA with piritramide) combined with a non-opioid (metamizol) resulted in satisfactory analgesia.

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Accession: 046909230

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PMID: 10427455


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