Comparison of patient-assisted epidural analgesia with continuous-infusion epidural analgesia for postoperative patients

Timothy R. Lubenow*, Erik N. Tanck, Eileen M. Hopkins, Robert J. McCarthy, Anthony D. Ivankovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Patient-assisted epidural analgesia, a mode of epidural analgesic delivery in which self-administered epidural boluses supplement a baseline continuous epidural infusion, was compared to continuous epidural infusion in 62 postsurgical patients. Methods. Patients were randomly assigned to receive continuous epidural infusion (n = 31) or patient-assisted epidural analgesia (n = 31) consisting of fentanyl 10 mcg/mL and bupivacaine 1 mg/mL for the first 2 days after the operation. Variables examined included the adequacy of analgesia, amount of epidural infusion solution used, use of supplemental opioids, as well as incidence of side effects including nausea, pruritus, sedation, urinary retention, and respiratory depression. Results. Visual analog pain scores on days 1 and 2 after the operation, mean total epidural fentanyl consumption, and use of supplemental opioids were all significantly (P < .05) lower in the patient-assisted epidural group than in the continuous infusion group. There was no significant difference in the incidence of side effects between groups. The effects of age and operation type were not significant. Conclusions. Patient-assisted epidural analgesia can provide superior pain control as compared to continuous epidural infusions while also reducing opioid dosages. Despite the reduction in total analgesic administered no reduction in side effects was seen with this m ode of administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-211
Number of pages6
JournalRegional Anesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


  • Analgesia
  • Bupivacaine
  • Epidural
  • Fentanyl
  • Opioid
  • Patient assisted
  • Postoperat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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