Author(s): Pursnani KG, Bazza Y, Calleja M, Mughal MM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has become firmly established as a procedure of choice for gallstone disease. The procedure usually necessitates general anaesthesia and endotracheal intubation to prevent aspiration and respiratory embarrassment secondary to the induction of pneumoperitoneum. There is a paucity of data in the literature on the procedure being performed under regional (epidural) anaesthesia, especially in patients with coexisting pulmonary disease and pregnancy, who are deemed high risk for general anaesthesia. We report our preliminary experience with LC using epidural anaesthesia in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). METHODS: We performed LC in six patients (one man and five women), with a median age of 56 years (range, 38-74), under epidural anaesthesia over an 8-month period. All patients were ASA grade III/IV and the mean FEB1/FVC was 0.52 (range, 0.4-0.68), due to chronic asthma (two cases) and COPD (four cases). They were admitted a day prior to surgery for pulmonary function tests, nebulisers, and chest physiotherapy. An epidural catheter was introduced at T10/11 intervertebral space, and a bolus of 0.5\% Bupivacaine was administered. Depending on the patient's pain threshold and the segmental level of analgesia achieved, incremental doses of 2 ml of 0.5\% Bupivacaine along with boluses of intravenous 100 mcg Alfentanil was given to each patient. The patients were breathing spontaneously. No nasogastric tube was inserted, and a low-pressure (10 mmHg) pneumoperitoneum was created. LC was performed according to the standard technique. RESULTS: All the patients tolerated the procedure well and made an uneventful postoperative recovery. Median operating time was 50 min; average length of hospital stay was 2.5 days (range, 2-4). The epidural catheter was removed the morning after the operation. Only one patient required postoperative opioid analgesia. Two patients complained of persistent shoulder tip pain during surgery and required intraoperative analgesia (Alfentanil). There was no change in the patient's cardiorespiratory status, including PO2 and pCO2, and no complications occurred either intra- or postoperatively. CONCLUSIONS: LC can be performed safely under epidural anaesthesia in patients with severe COPD. Intraoperative shoulder tip or abdominal pain does not seem to be a major deterrent and can be effectively controlled with small doses of opioid analgesia.
This article was published in Surg Endosc
and referenced in Journal of Pain Management & Medicine