Background and objective The aim of the present study was to compare and assess the quality of analgesia, the safety and the side-effects after the use of a continuous, thoracic epidural infusion of sufentanil (5 μg h−1), 0.25% bupivacaine (10 mL h−1), 0.2% ropivacaine (10 mL h−1) alone or in combination in patients who had undergone major urological surgery. This prospective, randomized, double-blinded study investigated the efficacy of thoracic epidural infusions after major urological surgery.
Methods Patients received a 72-h continuous infusion␣(10 mL h−1) of 0.25% bupivacaine (B), 0.2% ropivacaine (R), 0.25% bupivacaine with 0.5 μg mL−1 sufentanil (BS), 0.2% ropivacaine with 0.5 μg mL−1 sufentanil (RS) or 0.5 μg mL−1 sufentanil only (S). The analysis included 109 patients.
Results The mean visual analogue scale (VAS) scores for pain were highest in the groups R and S (P < 0.001). The PaCO2 values were significantly higher in the groups RS and S (P = 0.003). Motor block occurred more frequently in the groups B and BS than in the other groups (P < 0.001). Sedation, nausea and pruritus were more common in the groups that received sufentanil.
Conclusions A continuous, epidural infusion with these drugs was safe and effective in our patients. The combination of 0.2% ropivacaine plus sufentanil appeared preferable because of the low incidence of motor block.