Presented at the American College of Surgeons 101st Annual Clinical Congress, Scientific Forum, Chicago, IL, October 2015. It was the recipient of a Dedication and Excellence in Research Award.
Authors: Mark H. Hanna, MD et al
The effectiveness of thoracic epidural analgesia (EA) vs conventional IV analgesia (IA) after minimally invasive surgery is still unproven. We designed a randomized controlled trial comparing EA with IA after minimally invasive colorectal surgery.
A total of 87 patients who underwent minimally invasive colorectal procedures at a single institution between 2011 and 2014 were enrolled. Eight patients were excluded and 38 were randomized to EA and 41 to IA. Pain was assessed with the Visual Analogue Scale and quality of life with the Overall Benefit of Analgesia Score daily until discharge.
Mean age was 57 ± 14 years, 43% of patients were female, and mean BMI was 28.6 ± 6 kg/m2. The 2 groups were similar in demographic characteristics and distribution of diagnoses and procedures. Epidural analgesia had a higher incidence of hypotensive systolic blood pressure (<90 mmHg) episodes (9 vs 2; p < 0.05) and a trend toward longer Foley catheter duration (3 ± 2 days vs 2 ± 4 days; p > 0.05). Epidural and IA had equivalent mean lengths of stay (4 ± 3 days vs 4 ± 3 days), daily Visual Analogue Scale scores (2.4 ± 2.0 vs 3.0 ± 2.0), and Overall Benefit of Analgesia Scores (3.2 ± 2.0 vs 3.2 ± 2.0), and similar time to start oral diet (2.8 ± 2 days vs 2.2 ± 1 days). Epidural analgesia patients used a higher total dose of narcotics (147.5 ± 192.0 mg vs 98.1 ± 112.0 mg; p > 0.05). Epidural and IV analgesia had equivalent total hospital charges ($144,991 ± $67,636 vs $141,339 ± $75,579; p > 0.05).
This study indicates that EA has no added clinical benefit in patients undergoing minimally invasive colorectal surgery. A trend toward higher total narcotics use and complications with EA was demonstrated.