British journal of anaesthesia

Postoperative pain after abdominal hysterectomy: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial comparing continuous infusion vs patient-controlled intraperitoneal injection of local anaesthetic.

PMID 24185607


Local anaesthetics (LA) injected intraperitoneally have been found to decrease postoperative pain. This double-blind randomized study was performed comparing continuous infusion or patient-controlled intraperitoneal (i.p.) bolus injection of LA. The primary endpoint was supplemental opioid consumption during the first 24 postoperative hours. Two multi-hole catheters were placed intraperitoneally at the end of the surgery in 40 patients undergoing elective abdominal hysterectomy. The patients were randomized into two groups: Group P: patients self-injected 10 ml of levobupivacaine 1.25 mg ml(-1) via the i.p. catheter as needed, maximum once per hour, and had continuous saline infusion 10 ml h(-1) into the second catheter. Group C: patients received a continuous infusion of 10 ml h(-1) of levobupivacaine 1.25 mg ml(-1) intraperitoneally through one catheter and 10 ml saline as bolus as needed via the other. Ketobemidone was administered intravenously as rescue medication. Total ketobemidone consumption during 0-24 h was lower in Group P compared with Group C (mean 23.1 vs 35.7 mg, P=0.04). No differences in the median pain scores were found between the groups. Earlier return of gastrointestinal (GI) function was found in Group P vs Group C (mean 1.5 vs 2.2 days, P<0.01), which also resulted in earlier home-readiness (mean 1.9 vs 2.7 days, P=0.04). A statistically significant opioid-sparing effect was found when patient-controlled levobupivacaine was administered intraperitoneally as needed compared with continuous infusion. This was associated with a faster return of GI function and home-readiness. There was, however, a wide confidence interval in the primary endpoint, opioid consumption.