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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-107

A 6-month audit of epidural analgesia in a teaching hospital

Department of Anaesthesia, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central, 768828, Singapore

Correspondence Address:
Shahla Siddiqui
Department of Anaesthesia, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central, 768828
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-5333.186465

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Introduction: Major laparotomies generally herald high pain scores postoperatively and have high intraoperative hemodynamic shifts. Traditional analgesic regimens with intravenous opioids were supplanted with the superior epidural analgesia (EA) in the mid-1980s. This was based on the perception that EA provided highly effective postoperative analgesia for patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. However, recent literature points to a high failure rate. We aimed to retrospectively audit our EA performance in terms of success and complications and take an in-depth look at factors associated with failure. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed charts and our EA forms over 6 months. Results: Our results show a low rate of mortality and neurological morbidity. However we have a high rate of failure of 37% as judged by high pain scores, use of adjuvant analgesics and also an unacceptably high rate of hypotension from epidural infusions, requiring fluid boluses, inotropes and Intensive Care Unit admission. Registrar level and senior insertion did not show any difference in failure rate. Conclusion: Level of training per se does not equate to experiential skip and prior level of experience with administration of this type of anesthesia. We can conclude that EA in our setting is safe but not effective and requires further and frequent scrutiny in terms of procedures, technical skill, education and perhaps looking at its cost-effectiveness and need for standardization.

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