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Gynecol Oncol. 2009 Dec;115(3):357-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2009.08.015. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Perioperative outcomes comparing patient controlled epidural versus intravenous analgesia in gynecologic oncology surgery.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Our aim was to compare perioperative patient controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) versus patient controlled intravenous analgesia (PCA) after gynecologic oncology laparotomy.


This was a prospective cohort study where perioperative pain management was decided through patient-centered discussion by anesthesia and surgical teams. The study was designed to accrue 224 patients, to test for equivalence in pain control on postoperative day 1, defined as less than a 10% difference in the proportion of patients with a visual analog scale pain score of <2 (0-10 scale).


Two hundred forty patients were enrolled, with 205 patients evaluable for outcomes: 98 received PCA, while 107 received a thoracic level PCEA. Utilization of PCEA was associated with longer anesthesia time pre-op (means: 60 vs. 44 min, p<0.0001), as well as more likely use of pressors during surgery (78% vs. 57%, p=0.002). Pain control was comparable between groups on postoperative day 1 (mean VAS: 2.4 vs. 2.5, p=0.56), but patients with PCEA tended to require more supplemental pain medications. Time to first ambulation was longer in the PCEA patients (means: 49 vs. 36 h post-op, p=0.03), with no difference in time to tolerating regular diet (means: 89 vs. 77 h post-op, 0.17) and no difference in readiness for discharge (means: 144 vs. 145 h post-op, p=0.95).


In this nonrandomized prospective study, selection of a PCEA for perioperative pain management did not improve pain management for patients undergoing gynecologic oncology surgery.

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