Comparison of subcutaneous analgesic system and epidural analgesia for postoperative pain control in open pediatric oncology operations: A randomized controlled trial

Steven C. Mehl, Brittany Johnson, Nihar Patel, Hannah Todd, Sanjeev Vasudevan, Jed Nuchtern, Bindi Naik-Mathuria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Children undergoing open oncologic surgery can have significant post-operative pain. The purpose of this trial was to compare a surgeon-placed subcutaneous analgesic system (SAS) to epidural analgesia. Methods: Single center randomized controlled trial including children ≤18 years undergoing open tumor resection between October 2018 and April 2021. Randomization to SAS or epidural was done preoperatively and perioperative pain management was standardized. Families were blinded to the modality. Comparisons of oral morphine equivalents (OME) and pain scores for three postoperative days, clinical outcome parameters, and parental satisfaction following unblinding were completed using non-parametric analyses. Results: Of 36 patients (SAS 18, Epidural 18), median age was 5 years (range <1–17). The Epidural cohort had less OME demand on postoperative day one (SAS 0.76 mg/kg, Epidural 0.11 mg/kg; p<0.01) and two (SAS 0.48 mg/kg, Epidural 0.07 mg/kg, p = 0.03). Pain scores were similar on postoperative days 1–3 (0–2 in both groups). The Epidural cohort had more device complications (SAS 11%, Epidural 50%; p = 0.03) and higher urinary catheter use (SAS 50%, Epidural 89%; p = 0.03). More than 80% of parents would use the same device in the future (SAS 100%, Epidural 84%, p = 0.23). Conclusion: For children undergoing open oncologic abdominal or thoracic surgery, early post-operative pain control appears to be better with epidural analgesia; however, SAS has decreased incidence of device complications and urinary catheter use. Parental satisfaction is excellent with both modalities. SAS could be considered as an alternative to epidural, especially in settings when epidural placement is not available or contraindicated. Type of study: Treatment study, Randomized controlled trial. Level of evidence: Level 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Epidural
  • Postoperative pain
  • Subcutaneous analgesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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