Parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia: Is this feasible in pediatric patients?

Patrick K. Birmingham, Santhanam Suresh*, Andrew Ambrosy, Suzanne Porfyris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia (PNEA) for control of postoperative pain in a pediatric surgical population. Methods: After the institutional review board (IRB) approval was obtained, an analysis of our pain treatment services database of pediatric surgical patients with epidural catheters in whom the parent and/or nurse were empowered to activate the epidural demand-dose button was evaluated. Results: Over a 10 -year period between 1999 and 2008, 128 procedures in 126 patients were provided parent or nurse assistance of the epidural demand dose. Satisfactory analgesia was obtained in 86% of patients with no or minor adjustments in PNEA parameters. Fourteen percent of patients were converted to intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) for inadequate analgesia (7%) or side effects (7%). None of the patients in this cohort required treatment for respiratory depression or excessive sedation. Conclusions: Parent-assisted or nurse-assisted epidural analgesia can be safely administered to children undergoing surgery who are physically or cognitively unable or unwilling to self-activate a demand dose. Additional studies are needed to compare the efficacy of PNEA with other modalities for postoperative pain control in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1089
Number of pages6
JournalPaediatric anaesthesia
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 5 2009


  • Analgesia
  • Epidural
  • Nurse-assisted
  • Parent-assisted
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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