18 Sep 12
The beneficial effect of transversus abdominis plane block after laparoscopic cholecystectomy in day-case surgery
By P Petersen, P Stjernholm, V Kristiansen, H Torup, E Hansen, A Mitchell, A Moeller, J Rosenberg, J Dahl and O Mathiesen
Anesth Anal, 2012;115:527-533
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is associated with postoperative pain of moderate intensity in the early postoperative period. Recent randomized trials have demonstrated the efficacy of transversus abdominis plane (TAP) block in providing postoperative analgesia after abdominal surgery. We hypothesized that a TAP block may reduce pain while coughing and at rest for the first 24 postoperative hours, opioid consumption, and opioid side effects in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy in day-case surgery.
In this randomized, double-blind study, 80 patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy in our day-case surgery unit were allocated to receive either bilateral ultrasound-guided posterior TAP blocks (20 mL 0.5% ropivacaine) or placebo blocks. Postoperative pain treatment consisted of oral acetaminophen 1000 mg × 4, oral ibuprofen 400 mg × 3, IV morphine (0–2 hours postoperatively), and oral ketobemidone (2–24 hours postoperatively). The primary outcome was postoperative pain scores while coughing calculated as area under the curve for the first 24 postoperative hours (AUC/24 h). Secondary outcomes were pain scores at rest (AUC/24 h), opioid consumption, and side effects. Patients were assessed 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 24 hours postoperatively. Group-wise comparisons of visual analog scale (VAS) pain (AUC/24 h) were performed with the 2-sample t test. Morphine and ketobemidone consumption were compared with the Mann-Whitney test for unpaired data. Categorical data were analyzed using the χ2 test.
The primary outcome variable, VAS pain scores while coughing (AUC/24 h), was significantly reduced in the TAP versus the placebo group (P = 0.04); group TAP: 26 mm (SD 13) (weighted average level) versus group placebo: 34 (18) (95% confidence interval): 0.5–15 mm). VAS pain scores at rest (AUC/24 h) showed no significant difference between groups. Median morphine consumption (0–2 hours postoperatively) was 7.5 mg (interquartile range: 5–10 mg) in the placebo group compared with 5 mg (interquartile range: 0–5 mg) in the TAP group (P < 0.001). The odds ratio of a random patient in group TAP having less morphine consumption than a random patient in group placebo was P (group TAP < group placebo) = 0.26 (confidence interval: 0.15, 0.37) where 0.5 represents no difference between groups. There were no between-group differences in total ketobemidone consumption, levels of nausea and sedation, number of patients vomiting, or consumption of ondansetron.
TAP block after laparoscopic cholecystectomy may have some beneficial effect in reducing pain while coughing and on opioid requirements, but this effect is probably rather small.