Masui. The Japanese journal of anesthesiology

[Postoperative pain management in video-assisted thoracic surgery using a continuous unilateral intercostal analgesia].

PMID 25669083


Optimal pain management after video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) remains an open issue. We prospectively studied the analgesic effect of intercostal analgegia (ICA) by comparison with epidural analgesia. Twenty-two patients undergoing VATS procedures were randomly divided into ICA (n = 8) or epidural (n = 14) group. Postoperatively 2 ml x hr(-1) of 0.2% ropivacaine was delivered continuously through intercostal or epidural catheter. Moreover, each group received the equal dose of fentanyl (0.25 x μg(-1). kg(-1) x hr(-1)) intravenously or epidurally. When no pain relief was achieved, iv fentanyl was given as a rescue. Requirement of additional fentanyl and pain score using a visual analogue scale (VAS) were documented for 19 hours. The mean pain scores at rest, mobilization and with coghing were slightly higher in the ICA group. Total additional dose of iv fentanyl was significantly different between the groups (ICA 147 ± 41 vs Epidural 39 ± 15 μg; P = 0.015). Pain scores and fentanyl requirements spread over the lower range. The mean of VAS in ICA group was less than 5 even at coughing, suggesting clinically irrelevant. In patients with coagulopathy, multimodal approach using intercostal analgesia supplemented by intravenous patient-controlled analgesia may be an alternative to epidural analgesia for postoperative pain management.