DESCRIPTION OF STUDIES
Systematic review of the literature from 1966–May 2004 using MEDLINE and EmBASE, following the protocol of the Cochrane Collaboration (Click here for search terms)
Inclusion of randomised studies assessing analgesic interventions in thoracotomy in adults, and reporting pain on a linear analogue scale
Identification of 332 studies of peri-operative interventions for postoperative pain following thoracotomy
169 studies included (Please link to ‘Included references’)
163 studies excluded (Please link to ‘Excluded references’)
The most common reason for exclusion was that the study was not a randomised, comparative clinical trial (60 studies). (Click here for further information about excluded studies) (Please link to ‘Reasons for exclusion’)
Where procedure-specific evidence regarding a particular intervention was lacking in the systematic review but relevant information was available from more recent studies, the additional information was added with a note that the publication date was after the defined cut-off date for the systematic review
This section includes studies and reviews from a variety of surgical procedures to address, where appropriate, information about analgesic efficacy and adverse effects of the available interventions, which are not covered in the systematic review.
Quality of studies
Despite the large number of studies included in the review, the methodological quality of the studies of analgesia for thoracotomy was found to be generally quite poor, and patient numbers were often small.