Comparison of the effects of thoracic epidural analgesia and i.v. infusion with lidocaine on cytokine response, postoperative pain and bowel function in patients undergoing colonic surgery

C P Kuo, S W Jao, K M Chen, C S Wong, C C Yeh, M J Sheen, C T Wu
British Journal of Anaesthesia 2006, 97 (5): 640-6

BACKGROUND: Both thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) and i.v. lidocaine were able to decrease postoperative pain and duration of ileus. We compared TEA and i.v. lidocaine (IV) regarding their effects on cytokines, pain and bowel function after colonic surgery.

METHODS: Sixty patients were randomly allocated to one of the three groups. TEA group had lidocaine 2 mg kg(-1) followed by 3 mg kg(-1) h(-1) epidurally and an equal volume of i.v. normal saline. The IV group received the same amount of lidocaine i.v. and normal saline epidurally. The control group received normal saline via both routes. These regimens were started 30 min before surgery and were continued throughout. Blood cytokines were measured at scheduled times within 72 h.

RESULTS: Both TEA and IV groups had better pain relief. The total consumptions using patient-controlled epidural analgesia were 81.6 (6.5), 55.0 (5.3) and 45.6 (3.9) ml (P<0.01) and the times of flatus passage were 50.2 (4.9), 60.2 (5.8) and 71.7 (4.7) h (P<0.01) in the TEA, IV and control groups, respectively. The TEA group exhibited the best postoperative pain relief and the least cytokine surge. The IV group experienced better pain relief and less cytokine release than the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: The TEA lidocaine had better pain relief, lower opioid consumption, earlier return of bowel function and lesser production of cytokines than IV lidocaine during 72 h after colonic surgery; IV group was better than the control group.

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