Liposome Bupivacaine for Postsurgical Analgesia in Patients Undergoing Robotically Assisted Cardiac Surgery

Innovations (Phila). 2015 Nov-Dec;10(6):416-9. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0000000000000190.


Objective: Despite the advantages of robotically assisted cardiac surgery over conventional open sternotomy, robotically assisted surgery may be associated with substantial postsurgical pain arising from multiple incisions and access ports. This single-site, retrospective chart review evaluated the impact of liposome bupivacaine compared with bupivacaine HCl on postsurgical pain management in patients undergoing robotically assisted endoscopic cardiac surgery.

Methods: Sequential patient cohorts undergoing robotically assisted cardiac surgery received either 0.25% bupivacaine HCl (100 mg in 40 mL, n = 30) or liposome bupivacaine (266 mg in 20 mL, expanded to 40 mL with 0.9% sterile normal saline, n = 30) intraoperatively via equal-volume infiltration across port sites. Outcome measures, collected from the day of surgery through postoperative day 3, were daily and total use of opioid analgesics (converted to morphine equivalents), pain intensity (11-point numeric rating scale), and incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Results: Median length of hospital stay was 4 days in the liposome bupivacaine group and 3 days in the bupivacaine HCl group. Patients receiving liposome bupivacaine had numerically lower mean pain scores (at six of seven time points), reduced mean opioid consumption, and a reduced incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting compared with those receiving bupivacaine HCl, although none of the differences reached statistical significance.

Conclusions: Results from this small retrospective, observational study suggest that liposome bupivacaine may improve postsurgical pain relief and reduce postsurgical opioid consumption, in comparison with bupivacaine HCl, in patients undergoing robotically assisted cardiac surgery. Larger prospective studies of liposome bupivacaine in this setting are warranted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Bupivacaine / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Liposomes
  • Bupivacaine