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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Postoperative intraspinal opioid analgesia after caesarean section; a randomised comparison of subarachnoid morphine and epidural pethidine.

A randomised, blinded clinical trial was performed to evaluate intraspinal opioid analgesic techniques after caesarean section. Healthy term parturients having elective caesarean section under combined spinal-epidural anaesthesia were allocated to one of three groups. Postoperative analgesia, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, was provided using either pethidine patient-controlled epidural analgesia (group PCEA) or subarachnoid morphine 200 microg, the latter supplemented as required with patient-controlled intravenous pethidine (group SMPCIA) or oral paracetamol and codeine (group SMO). Maternal analgesia, side effects, recovery and satisfaction were assessed for 48 h. Of 144 parturients enrolled, 137 completed the study (PCEA n = 44, SMPCIA n = 45, SMO n = 48). The groups were demographically similar. All participants experienced good pain relief, including median visual analogue pain scores (0-100) with movement <40 between 0-24 h. However, pain scores were significantly lower at 8 and 12 h in those receiving subarachnoid morphine (P< 0.05). Women in groups receiving subarachnoid morphine experienced more severe pruritus (P<0.001), nausea (P< 0.001) and drowsiness (P< 0.05). Postoperative recovery of bowel function and ambulation occurred earlier in those using PCEA, although this did not appear to be of clinical significance. Patient satisfaction was similar, although women in group SMO were least likely to choose this approach again (P<0.05). We concluded that all three techniques provided effective analgesia for a prolonged period postoperatively. Better pain relief, but more opioid-related side effects, resulted from subarachnoid morphine 200 microg, and re-evaluation of reduced doses of subarachnoid morphine may be warranted.[1]


  1. Postoperative intraspinal opioid analgesia after caesarean section; a randomised comparison of subarachnoid morphine and epidural pethidine. Paech, M.J., Pavy, T.J., Orlikowski, C.E., Kuh, J., Yeo, S.T., Lim, K., Evans, S.F. International journal of obstetric anesthesia. (2000) [Pubmed]
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