Published in Anaesthesia. 2014 Apr;69(4):348-55
Authors: Niraj G et al,.
Posterior transversus abdominis plane blocks have been reported to be an effective method of providing analgesia after lower abdominal surgery. We compared the efficacy of a novel technique of providing continuous transversus abdominis plane analgesia with epidural analgesia in patients on an enhanced recovery programme following laparoscopic colorectal surgery. A non-inferiority comparison was used.
Adult patients undergoing elective laparoscopic colorectal surgery were randomly assigned to receive continuous transversus abdominis plane analgesia (n = 35) vs epidural analgesia (n = 35), in addition to a postoperative analgesic regimen comprising regular paracetamol, regular diclofenac and tramadol as required.
Sixty-one patients completed the study. The transversus group received four-quadrant transversus abdominis plane blocks and bilateral posterior transversus abdominis plane catheters that were infused with levobupivacaine 0.25% for 48 h. The epidural group received an infusion of bupivacaine and fentanyl.
The primary outcome measure was visual analogue scale pain score on coughing at 24 h after surgery. We found no significant difference in median (IQR [range]) visual analogue scores during coughing at 24 h between the transversus group 2.5 (1.0-3.0 [0-5.5]) and the epidural group 2.5 (1.0-5.0 [0-6.0]). The one-sided 97.5% CI was a 0.0 (∞-1.0) difference in means, establishing non-inferiority.
There were no significant differences between the groups for tramadol consumption. Success rate was 28/30 (93%) in the transversus group vs 27/31 (87%) in the epidural group.
Continuous transversus abdominis plane infusion was non-inferior to epidural infusion in providing analgesia after laparoscopic colorectal surgery.