Chest tube insertion is one important factor leading to intercostal nerve impairment in thoracic surgery
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Chest tube insertion seems to be one important factor leading to intercostal nerve impairment. The purpose of this prospective study was to objectively evaluate intercostal nerve damage using current perception threshold testing in association with chest tube insertion.
Sixteen patients were enrolled in this study. Intercostal nerve function was assessed with a series of 2000-Hz (Aβ fiber), 250-Hz (Aδ fiber), and 5-Hz (C fiber) stimuli using current perception threshold testing (Neurometer CPT/C®). Current perception threshold values at chest tube insertion were measured before surgery, during chest tube insertion and after removal of the chest tube. Intensities of ongoing pain were also assessed using a numeric rating scale (0–10).
Current perception thresholds at each frequency after surgery were significantly higher than before surgery. Numeric rating scale scores for pain were significantly reduced from 3.3 to 1.9 after removal of the chest tube (p = 0.004). The correlation between current perception threshold value at 2000 Hz and intensity of ongoing pain was marginally significant (p = 0.058).
This is the first study to objectively evaluate intercostal nerve damage at chest tube insertion. The results confirmed that chest tube insertion has clearly deleterious effects on intercostal nerve function.
KeywordsPain Lung cancer surgery Thoracotomy Thoracoscopy/VATS
Conflict of interest
Miyazaki and other co-authors have no conflict of interest.
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