This study was conducted to audit the clinical management of a continuous local anaesthetic infusion delivered by a fluoroscopically placed thoracic epidural catheter in conjunction with supplemental intravenous opioid patient controlled analgesia for postoperative pain control following bilateral lung volume reduction surgery for severe emphysema. This retrospective case series involved a random sample of 43 patients from a possible 65 patients. The mean dose of epidural bupivacaine 0.15% was 6.7 ml/h (SD 1.5), while the mean daily dose of morphine or hydromorphone was 22.5 mg/day (SD 17.9) and 4.3 mg/day (SD 3.1), respectively. Inadequate analgesia was reported by 19 (44%) patients during the first two postoperative days, but was successfully treated by individual titration of these medications. The incidence of atrial fibrillation (n=6), premature epidural catheter dislodgement (n =6) or respiratory failure (n=3) appeared to be greater among patients who had inadequate analgesia at some stage. One patient developed excessive sedation; otherwise, there were no major complications. The use of an epidural bupivacaine infusion in conjunction with intravenous opioid patient controlled analgesia proved to be a safe and effective pain medication regimen when accompanied by individual titration of these agents in response to acute exacerbations of postoperative pain.
- Analgesia: thoracic epidural
- Postoperative pain
- Surgery: lung volume reduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine