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Multimodal analgesia using intrathecal diamorphine, and paravertebral and rectus sheath catheters are as effective as thoracic epidural for analgesia post-open two-phase esophagectomy within an enhanced recovery program

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander PhillipsORCiD, Dr Rhona Sinclair, Dr David Saunders, Arul Immanuel, Professor Michael Griffin


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© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus. Thoracic epidural (TE) analgesia has been the standard of care for transthoracic esophagectomy patients since the 1990s. Multimodal anesthesia using intrathecal diamorphine, local anesthetic infusion catheters (LAC) into the paravertebral space and rectus sheaths and intravenous opioid postoperatively represent an alternative option for postoperative analgesia. While TE can provide excellent pain control, it may inhibit early postoperative recovery by causing hypotension and reducing mobilization. The aim of this study is to determine whether multimodal analgesia with LAC was effective with respect to adequate pain management, and compare its impact on hypotension and mobility. Patients receiving multimodal LAC analgesia were matched using propensity score matching to patients undergoing two-phase trans-thoracic esophagectomy with a TE over a two-year period (from January 2015 to December 2016). Postoperative endpoints that had been evaluated prospectively, including pain scores on movement and at rest, inotrope or vasoconstrictor requirements, and hypotension (systolic BP < 90 mmHg), were compared between cohorts. Out of 14 patients (13 male) that received LAC were matched to a cohort of 14 patients on age, sex, and comorbidity. Mean and maximum pain scores at rest and movement on postoperative days 0 to 3 were equivalent between the groups. In both cohorts, 50% of patients had a pain score of more than 7 on at least one occasion. Fewer patients in the LAC group required vasoconstrictor infusion (LAC: 36% vs. TE: 57%, P = 0.256) to maintain blood pressure or had episodes of hypotension (LAC: 43% vs. TE: 79%, P = 0.05). The LAC group was more able to ambulate on the first postoperative day (LAC: 64% vs. TE: 43%, P = 0.14) but these differences were not statistically significant. Within the epidural cohort, three patients had interruption of epidural due to dislodgement or failure of block compared to no disruption in the multimodal local anesthesia catheters group (P = 0.05). Therefore, multimodal anesthesia using spinal diamorphine with combined paravertebral and rectus sheath local anesthetic catheters appears to provide comparable pain relief post two-phase esophagectomy and may provide more reliable and safe analgesia than the current standard of care.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Donohoe CL, Phillips AW, Flynn E, Donnison C, Taylor CL, Sinclair RCF, Saunders D, Immanuel A, Griffin SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Diseases of the Esophagus

Year: 2018

Volume: 31

Issue: 6

Print publication date: 01/06/2018

Online publication date: 24/05/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1120-8694

ISSN (electronic): 1442-2050

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/dote/doy006


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