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Anaesthesia. 1998 Mar;53(3):296-8.

Epidural anaesthesia as a method of pre-emptive analgesia for abdominal hysterectomy.

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Department of Anaesthetics, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, UK.


The effect of pre- versus postincisional epidural blockade without the use of systemic opioids was investigated in a randomised, double-blind study of two groups of 25 patients undergoing abdominal hysterectomy performed under general anaesthesia. The first group received, via a lumbar epidural catheter, 0.9% saline (16 ml) 15 min prior to surgical incision and 0.5% bupivacaine (15 ml) and fentanyl 50 micrograms (1 ml) 15 min prior to skin closure. The second group of 25 patients received the same amount of bupivacaine and fentanyl 15 min pre-incision and saline prior to skin closure. Visual analogue pain scores and patient-controlled morphine consumption were measured at specified times for 48 h. We were unable to detect any significant difference in either of the outcome measures of the two groups and thus were unable to demonstrate that epidural blockade using local anaesthetic and opioid has a pre-emptive effect.

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