The authors determined prospectively the safety of continuous spinal anesthesia combined with general anesthesia and the efficacy of postoperative pain relief with continuous spinal analgesia for morbidly obese patients undergoing vertical banded gastroplasty.
27 patients (13 men, 14 women) with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 50.4 +/- 7.8 and several co-morbidities were studied. All patients were anesthetized with the same anesthetic regimen, which included midazolam, fentanyl, propofol, muscle relaxants, nitrous oxide, isoflurane and intrathecal bupivacaine. Postoperative pain relief was provided for 5 days and all patients received the same regimen, which included intrathecal bupivacaine, fentanyl and intravenous tenoxicam. The intrathecal analgesic regimen was administered continuously through a pump which had the facility of providing bolus doses when requested in predetermined lockout intervals. Intra-operative monitoring included hemodynamic and respiratory parameters. Additional postoperative monitoring included respiratory rate, degree of sedation, sensory level of anesthesia, motor response and intensity of pain.
Intraoperative anesthetic technique was safe and provided satisfactory results in the immediate postoperative period. Furthermore, the postoperative analgesia regimen provided effective analgesia in all patients. The mean doses of fentanyl and bupivacaine infused intrathecally for the first 24 postoperative hours were 14.1 +/- 2.0 microg.h(1) and 0.7 +/- 0.1 mg.h(1) respectively, while the requirements of analgesia decreased progressively with time. The technique provided effective analgesia with low pain scores, which was reflected by ease in mobilizing and performing physical exercises with the physiotherapist. Only minor complications related to anesthesia and analgesia were encountered.
To our knowledge, this technique of anesthesia and postoperative analgesia has not been described before in morbidly obese patients. This regimen merits further controlled trials to establish its place in the perioperative management of morbidly obese patients.