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Anesthesiology. 2008 Nov;109(5):890-4. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31818aa6cb.

Efficacy of addition of fentanyl to epidural bupivacaine on postoperative analgesia after thoracotomy for lung resection in infants.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



The authors evaluated the efficacy of adding fentanyl to epidural bupivacaine in infants up to 6 months of age after a thoracotomy in a prospective, randomized, double-blind study. The primary outcome was the total amount of rescue doses of intravenous nalbuphine in the first 24 h after surgery. Secondary outcomes included (1) time to first rescue dose of nalbuphine, (2) pain scores, and (3) behavior scores.


Thirty-two infants were randomly assigned to receive an epidural infusion containing 0.1% bupivacaine (group B; n = 16) or 0.1% bupivacaine and 2 microg/ml fentanyl (group BF; n = 16). Patients were evaluated up to 24 h after surgery for pain; amount of analgesic rescues and time to first rescue; pain scores; behavior scores (five-item behavior score); and complications, including respiratory depression, oxygen requirement, vomiting, and urinary retention.


The two groups had similar demographics. Nalbuphine consumption (P = 0.001) and pain scores (P < 0.001) in the first 24 h were significantly decreased in group BF compared with group B. The time to first analgesic rescue was significantly longer in group BF (P = 0.005). The five-item behavior score was significantly better in group BF than in group B (P = 0.01). The incidence of side effects, the time to first successful feeding, and the time to discharge were similar in both groups.


Addition of 2 microg/ml epidural fentanyl to 0.1% bupivacaine results in improved postthoracotomy analgesia without any increase in side effects, compared with 0.1% bupivacaine, in infants up to 6 months of age.

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