Epidural and opioid analgesia following the Nuss procedure

Med Sci Monit. 2011 Nov;17(11):PH81-86. doi: 10.12659/msm.882032.


Background: Parents have the right to decide on behalf of their children and deny consent to regional anaesthesia. The investigators decided to investigate quality of postoperative analgesia in adolescents undergoing epidural and opioid analgesia following the Nuss procedure. material/methods: The study subjects were 61 adolescents aged 11-18 years who underwent pectus excavatum repair with the Nuss procedure. Patients were divided into epidural (n=41) and opioid (n=20) groups, depending on their parents' consent to epidural catheter insertion. Intraoperatively, 0.5% epidural ropivacaine with fentanyl or intermittent intravenous injections of fentanyl were used. Postoperative analgesia was achieved with either epidural infusion of 0.1% ropivacaine with fentanyl, or subcutaneous morphine via an intraoperatively inserted "butterfly" cannula. Additionally, both groups received metamizol and paracetamol. Primary outcome variables were postoperative pain scores (Numeric Rating Scale and Prince Henry Hospital Pain Score). Secondary outcome variables included hemodynamic parameters, additional analgesia and side effects.

Results: Heart rate and blood pressure values in the postoperative period were significantly higher in the opioid group. Pain scores requiring intervention were noted almost exclusively in the opioid group.

Conclusions: Denial of parental consent to epidural analgesia following the Nuss procedure results in significantly worse control of postoperative pain. Our data may be useful when discussing with parents the available anaesthetic techniques for exceptionally painful procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amides
  • Analgesia, Epidural*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure
  • Dipyrone
  • Female
  • Fentanyl
  • Funnel Chest / surgery*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Morphine
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Parental Consent
  • Ropivacaine
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Amides
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Dipyrone
  • Morphine
  • Ropivacaine
  • Fentanyl