The short duration of epidural fentanyl has limited its direct comparison with epidural morphine in previous reports. The following study was performed on continuous postoperative epidural infusions at 5 ml/hr fentanyl 10 μg/ml (n = 59) or morphine 0.1 mg/ml (n = 48), both with bupivacaine 0.1%, in patients having cesarean sections. Postoperative evaluations included the frequency and magnitude of clinically evident respiratory depression, the adequacy of analgesia, nausea, pruritis, the ability to ambulate, and other side effects for 24 hours. Analgesia and the number of supplemental narcotic injections needed were similar in both groups. The incidence of nausea and pruritis was significantly less in the patients receiving fentanyl. No patient developed respiratory depression in either group. Patient and staff acceptance of the continuous epidural technique was excellent because there were only minor catheter-related problems associated with its use. It is concluded that continuous epidural fentanyl combined with bupivacaine offers excellent postoperative analgesia with minimal side effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine