Article Abstract

Paravertebral catheter analgesia for minimally invasive Ivor Lewis oesophagectomy

Authors: Jan Willem van den Berg, Kate Tabrett, Edward Cheong


Background: Oesophagectomy is a major complex operation associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Epidural analgesia has long been the gold standard postoperative analgesia but is associated with side-effects like hypotension, epidural haematoma and infection. In an attempt to lower morbidity and enhance recovery postoperatively, we have adopted the use of paravertebral catheter analgesia (PVCA) for patients undergoing totally minimal invasive oesophagectomy (TMIO).
Methods: Our objective was to review the current literature about the use of both PVCA and epidural analgesia. In addition, we evaluated the effect of PVCA in a large group of patients undergoing TMIO for cancer. We reviewed the records of 100 consecutive patients who had a TMIO with PVCA, spinal morphine, and PCA. Prospective independent scoring of postoperative pain, length of stay, high-dependency unit (HDU) stay, PVCA failure, the use of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), and the use of vasoconstrictor medication postoperatively was analysed.
Results: One hundred consecutive patients received PVCA with PCA after the TMIO. Catheter related failures occurred in 4 cases. The median pain score over each of the 5 days were 0. The average pain score was highest in the first 24 hours and decreased over the next 4 days postoperatively. The use of PCA was highest in the first 2 days and reduced daily over the subsequent 3 days. Seven patients required rescue analgesia in the form of intercostal nerve (ICN) block. Spinal morphine was successful in 94% of cases. Vasoconstrictors were required in 19% on day 1 and 3% on day 2, postoperatively.
Conclusions: Intraoperative placement of PVCA results in good postoperative pain control after a TMIO. This technique is simple, safe, reproducible and with very low failure rates. Therefore, it should be used instead of epidural catheter analgesia.