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Pain Management After Thoracic Surgery

  • Stephen H. Pennefather
  • Clare Paula-Jo QuartermanEmail author
  • Rebecca Y. Klinger
  • George W. Kanellakos
Chapter

Abstract

Thoracic surgery can cause significant pain and suffering. Appropriate analgesia is important both for humanitarian reasons and to allow early mobilization and pulmonary rehabilitation. Poor pain relief can increase pulmonary complications and mortality. Pain after thoracic surgery is generated from multiple structures and is transmitted via a number of afferent pathways. Factors that affect pain postoperatively can be divided into patient factors, analgesic technique, and surgical approach. Paravertebral catheters and thoracic epidural analgesia are widely used for thoracotomies and both have advantages and disadvantages. Recent studies suggest a similar quality of pain relief between the two approaches but a preferable side effect profile where paravertebral analgesia is utilized. Opioid-tolerant patients pose a particular challenge. Maintenance opioid should be continued perioperatively to avoid withdrawal symptoms. A multimodal technique involving regional blocks and supplemented with non-opioid analgesics is advised.

Keywords

Pain Multimodal analgesia Epidural Paravertebral Regional 

Abbreviations

AAGBI

Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland

ACTH

Adrenocorticotropic hormone

ADH

Antidiuretic hormone

ASRA

American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

COX

Cyclooxygenase

ESA

European Society of Anaesthesiology

FEV1

Forced expiratory volume in 1 second

FRC

Functional residual capacity

FVC

Forced vital capacity

HR

Heart rate

IL

Interleukin

IM

Intramuscular

IV

Intravenous

IV-PCA

Intravenous patient-controlled analgesia

NMDA

N-methyl-D-aspartate

NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

PFTs

Pulmonary function tests

TENS

Transcutaneous nerve stimulation

TNFα

Tumor necrosis factor alpha

V/Q

Ventilation/perfusion ratio

VATS

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

Supplementary material

Video 59.1

Surgical placement of a paravertebral catheter during VATS. The same technique can also be used during open thoracotomy (Video courtesy of Dr. G. Kanellakos) (MP4 78828 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen H. Pennefather
    • 1
  • Clare Paula-Jo Quarterman
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rebecca Y. Klinger
    • 3
  • George W. Kanellakos
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiaLiverpool Heart and Chest HospitalLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Department of AnaesthesiaLiverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation TrustLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiaPain Management & Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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