Author(s): Schenk MR, Putzier M, Kgler B, Tohtz S, Voigt K
BACKGROUND: Spinal fusion surgery causes severe postoperative pain, hampering reconvalescense. We investigated the efficacy of patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) in a prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled comparison with patient-controlled IV analgesia (PCIA).
METHODS: After lumbar anterior-posterior fusion receiving an epidural catheter intraoperatively, 72 patients were given either PCEA (ropivacaine 0.125% and sufentanil 1.0 microg/mL at 14 mL/h; bolus: 5 mL; lockout time: 15 min) and IV placebo or PCIA (morphine 2.0 mg/mL; bolus: 3 mg; lockout time: 15 min) and epidural placebo. Pain levels (visual analog scale 0-10), functional capabilities (turning in bed, standing, and walking), analgesic consumption, and side effects were evaluated until 72 h after surgery.
RESULTS: Fourteen patients were excluded by predetermined criteria, leaving 58 patients for data analysis. Pain levels at rest and during mobilization were significantly lower in the PCEA when compared with that in the PCIA group throughout the study period (P < 0.0001 in all cases). Time until able to turn in bed was achieved earlier in the PCEA group (P < 0.05). Patients in the PCEA group were significantly more satisfied with pain therapy (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: We conclude that PCEA with ropivacaine and sufentanil, using intraoperatively placed epidural catheters, provides superior analgesia and higher patient satisfaction when compared with PCIA after spinal fusion surgery