Interpleural bupivacaine and intravenous oxycodone for pain treatment after thoracotomy in children

Hannu Kokki, MD, PhD, Merja Laisalmi, MD, Kari Vanamo, MD, PhD


Introduction: The results of studies exploring the efficacy of interpleural analgesia in children post-thoracotomy have frequently been inconclusive. In this pilot study, we have evaluated the efficacy and safety of interpleural bupivacaine and intravenous (IV) oxycodone in pain treatment after thoracotomy in 10 generally healthy children, aged 10 months to 12 years, with patent ductus arteriosus who underwent thoracotomy.
Methods: After surgery, all 10 children were given ibuprofen 10 mg/kg rectally every six hours. The first dose of interpleural bupivacaine (2 mg/kg) was given with epinephrine at the end of surgery, and thereafter plain bupivacaine (1 mg/kg) was given every two hours if the pain score was 4 or higher on an 11-point numeric rating scale (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain). For rescue analgesia, children were provided oxycodone 0.1 mg/kg IV if pain was not relieved sufficiently with ibuprofen and bupivacaine. Vital signs, pain scores, and all adverse effects were monitored continuously for 24 hours.
Results: All 10 children needed both interpleural bupivacaine and IV oxycodone. The number of bupivacaine doses ranged between three and 10 (mean = 6.1, SD = 2.3), and the number of oxycodone doses ranged between one and 12 (mean = 6.0, SD = 3.6). No cases of low respiratory rate or low peripheral oxygen saturation or any serious adverse events were recorded.
Conclusion: Scheduled nonopioid analgesic (ibuprofen) with interpleural bupivacaine did not provide sufficient analgesia for post-thoracotomy pain in young children. IV oxycodone was found to be an effective and safe opioid supplement to the pain regimen.


oxycodone, intravenous, bupivacaine, interpleural, ibuprofen, rectal, thoracotomy, pain, child

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