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Schmerz. 1994 Mar;8(1):12-8.

[Interpleural analgesia : A topical review.].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik für Anästhesiologie der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Langenbeckstraße, D-55131, Mainz.


Interpleural analgesia is a method of postoperative analgesia that was developed by Kvalheim and Reiestad in 1984. The main indication is postoperative pain after unilateral thoracic and upper abdominal surgery. Many authors report good analgesic effects and better postoperative lung function following cholecystectomy. There is some controversy on the effectiveness of this method after thoracic surgery. Further indications are post-traumatic pain after multiple rib fractures and chronic pain in the upper abdomen (carcinoma of the pancreas, chronic pancreatitis). The local anaesthetic of choice is bupivacaine (in concentrations of 0.25-0.75%, injection volumes of 10-40 ml, with or without epinephrine, applied as bolus or infusion), but others, such as lidocaine or morphine, are also being tested. Risks involved in this method are pneumothorax when the catheter is placed blind and the systemic toxicity of the local anaesthetic. This review provides information on the mechanism of action, the technique, the clinical use to date and possible risks.

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