[Local infiltration of epinephrine and bupivacaine before tonsillectomy]

K A Strub, K Tschopp, F Frei, C Kern, T Erb
HNO 1996, 44 (12): 672-6
The effects of peritonsillar injections of epinephrine and local anesthetics before tonsillectomy on blood loss and postoperative pain were evaluated in a prospective, randomized double-blind trial on 103 children. Patients were randomly assigned into one of three groups: controls given injections of 0.9% NaCl (n = 34), patients injected with 0.4 ml/kg (1:200,000) epinephrine combined with 0.25% bupivacaine (n = 33) and patients given only 1:200,000 epinephrine (n = 36). All injections and operations were performed by the same surgeon (KS). Blood loss was calculated by weighing all blood aspirated perioperatively and swabs used during surgery. Postoperative pain was assessed at regular intervals by using three methods: (1) use of a visual analogue scale by parents and nurses to estimate pain; (2) postoperative need for nalbuphine as analgesic; (3) the Hannallah-Broadman semi-objective pain score (including crying, anxiety, restlessness, and changes in blood pressure). The mean blood loss in the control group (given NaCl) was 132 g, which was significantly increased when compared with the epinephrine/bupivacaine group (85 g) and the group treated with only epinephrine (90 g). However, analysis of the postoperative pain scores did not reveal any significant differences among groups. These findings indicate that the peritonsillar injection of bupivacaine does not decrease postoperative pain, but peritonsillar injections of epinephrine will significantly reduce blood loss during tonsillectomy.

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