A novel technique of paravertebral thoracic and preperitoneal analgesia enhances early recovery after oesophagectomy

Stephanie Phillips, Jasmina Dedic-Hagan, d’Arcy Ferris Baxter, H. Van der Wall, G. L. Falk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Excellent analgesia following oesophagectomy facilitates patient comfort, early extubation, physiotherapy and mobilisation, reduces post-operative complications and should enhance recovery. Thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA), the gold standard analgesic regimen for this procedure, is often associated with systemic hypotension treated with inotropes or fluid. This may compromise enhanced recovery and be complicated by anastomotic ischaemia or tissue oedema. Methods: We report a novel analgesic regimen to reduce post-operative inotrope usage. Infusion of ropivicaine via bilateral preperitoneal and right paravertebral catheters was used. Patient-controlled epidural pethidine provided rescue analgesia (WC) (n = 21). A retrospective audit of inotrope requirement, mean pain scores, episodes of respiratory depression and excessive sedation, need for reintubation, reoperation in the first 5 post-operative days, time to mobilisation, time in intensive care, time in hospital and 30-day mortality were measured. These results were compared with those of an earlier patient group who received a thoracic epidural infusion of low-dose local anaesthetic and fentanyl (TEA) (n = 21). Results: Inotrope use was reduced by 29% in the WC group (p = 0.03) and the mean intensive care stay reduced by 2.4 days (p = 0.03), as was reintubation rate (p = 0.01) and early mobilisation (p = 0.03). The pain score was comparable in both groups, and there was no difference in the other outcomes examined. Conclusion: The data demonstrated that it was possible to provide excellent post-oesophagectomy analgesia equivalent to thoracic epidural infusions of local anaesthetic with reduction in inotrope requirements, intensive care stay, more rapid mobilisation, facilitating enhanced recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1791
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


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