Joshi GP,* Bonnet F, Shah R, Wilkinson RC, Camu F, Fischer B, Neugebauer EAM, Rawal N, Schug SA, Simanski C, Kehlet H.
A systematic review of randomized trials evaluating regional techniques for post-thoracotomy analgesia.
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2008; 107: 1026-1040.
BACKGROUND: Thoracotomy induces severe postoperative pain and impairment of pulmonary function, and therefore regional analgesia has been intensively studied in this procedure. Thoracic epidural analgesia is commonly considered the “gold standard” in this setting; however, evaluation of the evidence is needed to assess the comparative benefits of alternative techniques, guide clinical practice and identify areas requiring further research. METHODS: In this systematic review of randomized trials we evaluated thoracic epidural, aravertebral, intrathecal, intercostal, and interpleural analgesic techniques, compared to each other and to systemic opioid analgesia, in adult thoracotomy. Postoperative pain, analgesic use, and complications were analyzed. RESULTS: Continuous paravertebral block was as effective as thoracic epidural analgesia with local anesthetic (LA) but was associated with a reduced incidence of hypotension. Paravertebral block reduced the incidence of pulmonary complications compared with systemic analgesia, whereas thoracic epidural analgesia did not. Thoracic epidural analgesia was superior to intrathecal and intercostal techniques, 2 although these were superior to systemic analgesia; interpleural analgesia was inadequate. CONCLUSIONS: Either thoracic epidural analgesia with LA plus opioid or continuous paravertebral block with LA can be recommended. Where these techniques are not possible, or are contraindicated, intrathecal opioid or intercostal nerve block are recommended despite insufficient duration of analgesia, which requires the use of supplementary systemic analgesia. Quantitative meta-analyses were limited by heterogeneity in study design, and subject numbers were small. Further well designed studies are required to investigate the optimum components of the epidural solution and to rigorously evaluate the risks/benefits of continuous infusion paravertebral and intercostal techniques compared with thoracic epidural analgesia.
*Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, University of TX Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA.
Fischer HB,* Simanski CJ, Sharp C, et al.
*Anaesthesia and Pain Management, Department of Anaesthesia, Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, Worcester
A procedure-specific systematic review and consensus recommendations for postoperative analgesia following total knee arthroplasty.
The PROSPECT Working Group, a collaboration of anaesthetists and surgeons, conducts systematic reviews of postoperative pain management for different surgical procedures (http://archive.postoppain.org). Evidence-based consensus recommendations for the effective management of postoperative pain are then developed from these systematic reviews, incorporating clinical practice observations, and transferable evidence from other relevant procedures. We present the results of a systematic review of pain and other outcomes following analgesic, anaesthetic and surgical interventions for total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The evidence from this review supports the use of general anaesthesia combined with a femoral nerve block for surgery and postoperative analgesia, or alternatively spinal anaesthesia with local anaesthetic plus spinal morphine. The primary technique, together with cooling and compression techniques, should be supplemented with paracetamol and conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or COX-2-selective inhibitors, plus intravenous strong opioids (high-intensity pain) or weak opioids (moderate- to low-intensity pain).