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Paediatr Anaesth. 2006 Mar;16(3):302-8.

The efficacy of morphine and Entonox analgesia during chest drain removal in children.

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Pain Control Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK.



Morphine is commonly used for chest drain removal pain, although a few studies in adults suggest that inhalation agents may be effective for this procedure. Little is known about chest drain removal pain and its management in children.


Three separate studies were carried out at a large tertiary pediatric hospital to examine the characteristics and management of chest drain removal pain in children. Study 1 examined the prevalence and clinical characteristics of pain and analgesic practices in 135 nonventilated children aged 1 week to 18 years having chest drains removed. Study 2 was an observation study to determine the efficacy and safety of self-administered Entonox (50% nitrous oxide and oxygen) for chest drain removal pain in 30 children aged 7-18 years. Study 3 was a pilot randomized controlled trial comparing intravenous morphine and continuous flow Entonox for chest drain removal pain in 14 children aged 3.5 months to 2.75 years.


In study 1, the prevalence of moderate to severe pain during chest drain removal was 76%. Morphine was commonly given preprocedure, but the dose varied considerably. In study 2, children experienced a significant increase in pain during the procedure compared with preprocedure pain at rest, despite receiving Entonox, morphine and/or diclofenac. However, procedure pain was no worse than preprocedure pain during movement or deep breathing. A few minor side effects occurred, which resolved spontaneously. In study 3, no differences were found in pain between the two treatment groups. Children experienced moderate to severe pain during the procedure, despite receiving Entonox or morphine.


Morphine or Entonox alone are unlikely to provide adequate analgesia for chest drain removal pain in children. More research is needed to determine the most effective interventions for this procedure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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