Since its introduction to North America in 1942, the use of epidural catheter analgesia has increased dramatically. Improved equipment, methods and medications have broadened its application to include among others, surgical anesthesia, chronic pain relief and the management of postoperative pain. Numerous techniques for epidural puncture and insertion of the catheter have been described. Although complications have been associated with placement of an epidural catheter, these are rare when performed by an experienced anesthesiologist. Epidural analgesia was first accomplished by blockade with local anesthetics. Bupivacaine has been called the local anesthetic of choice for epidural infusion. Bolus administration of epidural local anesthetics gives effective analgesia; however, its use is limited by brief duration and occasionally severe hypotension. Epidural local anesthetics have been administered by continuous infusion in an attempt to minimize side effects. Nevertheless, hypotension, as well as motor block, numbness, nausea and urinary retention have occurred. Epidural analgesia with local anesthetics is effective in relieving postoperative pain, but its safety and feasibility have been questioned because of the frequent, potentially serious side effects. These problems led to trials of epidural narcotics for postoperative pain management. The exact site of action of epidural narcotic analgesics is debatable; however, the bulk of evidence supports a direct spinal action. Epidural narcotics appear to specifically inhibit nociceptive stimuli. The prolonged and profound analgesia that occurs with epidural narcotics relative to parenteral administration is due to a higher concentration of drug reaching the CSF through the epidural route. Since nervous transmission is not completely blocked this technique cannot provide anesthesia during operation. Morphine has been the most frequently used narcotic for epidural analgesia. Results of several recent, randomized double-blind studies have shown that epidural narcotics give adequate analgesia comparable with that observed with epidural bupivacaine. Epidural morphine provides a greater duration of analgesia and may cause fewer side effects. Improved analgesia has been reported when epidural narcotics are used in combination with local anesthetics. Continuous administration of low dosage epidural narcotics has been shown to have less frequent side effects than bolus administration. Nevertheless, pruritus, urinary retention, hypotension and severe respiratory depression have been reported with both methods.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty-one patients who underwent elective cholecystectomy were studied with regard to the effect of intrapleural administration of bupivacaine-adrenaline solution on postoperative pain and ventilatory capacity. Administration of 10 or 20 ml of 2.5 mg/ml or 5 mg/ml bupivacaine solution resulted in complete analgesia in 143 of 159 administrations. Most patients experienced the maximal pain-relieving effect within 1-2 min and analgesia persisted as a rule for 3-5 h. Forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 s increased after intrapleural analgesia on average by 56% and 46%, respectively, on the first postoperative day and by 35% and 51%, respectively, on the second day. There was no significant difference in the analgesic effect or in the effect on the ventilatory capacity between the 2.5 mg/ml or the 5 mg/ml solution, in either the 10 ml or the 20 ml dose. Placebo (NaCl) given intrapleurally had no effect on pain or on the ventilatory capacity. The plasma concentration of bupivacaine after intrapleural administration showed a wide interindividual variation, with considerably higher average values when the 5 mg/ml solution had been used than for the 2.5 mg/ml solution. Although no toxic effects were noted, a 2.5 mg/ml solution, which can be given in an initial dose of 20 ml and top-up doses of 10 ml at 3-6 h intervals, is recommended. In four patients minor pneumothorax developed when the catheter was introduced. The pneumothorax was easily evacuated, but underlines the need for great care when introducing the catheter.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We conducted a randomized study of 100 patients to examine the efficacy and risks of two methods of urinary-bladder management after total joint-replacement surgery. Patients who had hip or knee replacement were randomly assigned either to Group I, in which indwelling catheters were placed during the operation and removed the next morning, or Group II, in which urinary retention was treated by intermittent catheterization as needed. After the removal of the indwelling catheter, the patients in Group I had a lower incidence of urinary retention than those in Group II (27 vs. 52 percent; P less than 0.01). Bladder distention (volume above 700 ml) was more common in Group II (45 percent as compared with 7 percent in Group I; P less than 0.01) and was associated with an increased need for subsequent long-term catheterization. There was no significant difference between the groups in the rates of urinary tract infection (11 vs. 15 percent). We could not identify patients at high risk for retention or infection on the basis of preoperative urinary symptoms, previous urinary tract surgery, previous urinary tract infection or urinary retention, high-risk medical conditions, sex, type of anesthesia, or age (in the absence of prophylactic treatment). We conclude that the short-term use of an indwelling catheter after extended surgery, such as joint replacement, reduces the incidence of urinary retention and bladder overdistention, without increasing the rate of urinary tract infection.
New England Journal of Medicine 09/1988; 319(6):321-6. DOI:10.1056/NEJM198808113190601 · 55.87 Impact Factor
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