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Effects of oxycodone applied for patient-controlled analgesia on postoperative cognitive function in elderly patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty: a randomized controlled clinical trial



Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is a common complication after orthopedic surgery, which is not conducive to the prognosis of the elderly.


We performed this study to investigate the effects of oxycodone applied for patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PCIA) on postoperative cognitive function in elderly patients after total hip arthroplasty (THA).


Ninety-nine participants were enrolled and allocated into two groups: oxycodone group (group O) and sufentanil group (group S). The primary outcome was the incidence of POCD, diagnosed according to the changes in the Mini-mental status examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores. The secondary outcomes included the plasma levels of S-100B protein and neuron-specific enolase (NSE), the amount of postoperative analgesic consumption and the incidence of adverse reactions.


The incidence of POCD was significantly lower in patients receiving oxycodone up to the 3rd postoperative day (POD, 1st POD 27.3% vs. 51.1%, P = 0.021; 3rd POD 20.5% vs. 40.0%, P = 0.045), as compared to patients receiving sufentanil. The MMSE and MoCA scores of both groups decreased to varying degrees. However, compared with group S, the MMSE scores at 1st POD, 3rd POD, 5th POD and 7st POD in group O were higher than that in group S, while MoCA scores at 1st POD, 3rd POD and 5th POD in group O were higher. Compared with group S, the plasma levels of S-100B protein in group O at 4 h, 8 h, 12 h post-surgery were lower. While the plasma levels of NSE in group O at 4 h, 8 h, 12 h, 24 h post-surgery were lower. Number of PCIA boluses and consumption of analgesic drug during the first two POD were similar between two groups. However, postoperative incidence of nausea, vomiting and pruritus was significantly lower in patients receiving oxycodone.


Oxycodone applied for PCIA in elderly patients after THA could reduce the incidence of POCD, improve postoperative cognitive function and decrease the adverse reactions.

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The authors would like to thank the study investigators, study center staff, and all trial participants and their families.


The study was financially supported by grants from the Tangshan Science and Technology Innovation Team Project (18130220A).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jian Zhang.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Human Research of our hospital (No: RMYY-YWLL-2018-15). The trial was also registered prior the participant enrollment at (identifier: ChiCTR1800017768).

Research involving human participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

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Gan, J., Tu, Q., Miao, S. et al. Effects of oxycodone applied for patient-controlled analgesia on postoperative cognitive function in elderly patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Aging Clin Exp Res 32, 329–337 (2020).

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  • Oxycodone
  • Sufentanil
  • Patient-controlled intravenous analgesia
  • Elderly
  • Total hip arthroplasty
  • Postoperative cognitive dysfunction