Analgesia for pediatric thoracostomy tube removal

Anesth Analg. 2000 May;90(5):1025-8. doi: 10.1097/00000539-200005000-00005.


Eutectic mixture of local anesthetics (EMLA; Astra Pharmaceuticals, Wayne, PA) has been shown to reduce the pain of blood draws in children. We investigated the use of EMLA versus IV morphine for providing analgesia during chest tube removal (CTR) in children. One hundred twenty pediatric cardiothoracic surgery patients were enrolled. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either morphine (0.1 mg/kg up to 10 mg IV 30 min before CTR) or EMLA cream (5 g per chest tube cutaneously 3 h before CTR). A single, trained observer rated the patient's pain before, during, and after CTR using a 10-cm visual analog scale. The sites were evaluated for adverse effect. Methylhemoglobin levels were monitored in infants. Before CTR, the pain scores of the children who received morphine were rated lower than those who received EMLA (P < 0.01). During CTR, there was no difference in the pain score between the morphine or EMLA group. The change from baseline pain score in the morphine group was significantly larger than in the EMLA group (P < 0.01). We conclude that EMLA is safe and useful for blunting the pain of CTR.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Combined / therapeutic use*
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chest Tubes*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Morphine / therapeutic use
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prilocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Thoracostomy*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Combined
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Lidocaine, Prilocaine Drug Combination
  • Prilocaine
  • Morphine
  • Lidocaine