Parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia: is this feasible in pediatric patients?

Birmingham, P. K.; Suresh, S.; Ambrosy, A.; Porfyris, S.

Paediatr Anaesth. 2009 Oct 8; 19(11):1084-9


AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia (PNEA) for control of postoperative pain in a pediatric surgical population. METHODS: After the institutional review board (IRB) approval was obtained, an analysis of our pain treatment services database of pediatric surgical patients with epidural catheters in whom the parent and/or nurse were empowered to activate the epidural demand-dose button was evaluated. RESULTS: Over a 10 -year period between 1999 and 2008, 128 procedures in 126 patients were provided parent or nurse assistance of the epidural demand dose. Satisfactory analgesia was obtained in 86% of patients with no or minor adjustments in PNEA parameters. Fourteen percent of patients were converted to intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) for inadequate analgesia (7%) or side effects (7%). None of the patients in this cohort required treatment for respiratory depression or excessive sedation. CONCLUSIONS: Parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia can be safely administered to children undergoing surgery who are physically or cognitively unable or unwilling to self-activate a demand dose. Additional studies are needed to compare the efficacy of PNEA with other modalities for postoperative pain control in children.

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