A randomized double-blind study to evaluate efficacy and safety of epidural magnesium sulfate and clonidine as adjuvants to bupivacaine for postthoracotomy pain relief.

Research paper by Wasim W Mohammad, Shafat A SA Mir, Khairaat K Mohammad, Khalid K Sofi

Indexed on: 18 Apr '15Published on: 18 Apr '15Published in: Anesthesia, essays and researches


The aim of the study was to compare postoperative pain relief in patients undergoing an elective thoracotomy with thoracic epidural analgesia using single shot magnesium and clonidine as adjuvants to bupivacaine.In a randomized prospective study, 60 patients of American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status I-III of either sex, between 20 and 60 years undergoing elective unilateral thoracotomy, were allocated to three equal groups of 20 patients. Each patient received thoracic epidural analgesia using bupivacaine alone (Group A) or with magnesium (Group B) or clonidine (Group C) at the end of surgery during skin closure. Postoperatively, pain was measured using a visual analog scale (VAS). Rescue analgesia (50 mg tramadol intravenous) was given at a VAS score of ≥4. Duration of analgesia and total dose of rescue analgesic during 24 h was calculated. Postoperative sedation and other side effects if any were recorded.All the groups were homogeneous with respect to their demographics. The 24 h cumulative mean VAS score in Groups A, B, and C was 3.12 ± 0.97, 2.86 ± 0.43, and 1.83 ± 0.59, respectively. The duration of analgesia was prolonged in Group C (165 ± 49.15 min), followed by Group B (138 ± 24.6 min), and Group A (118.5 ± 52.8 min). The duration of analgesia was significantly prolonged in the clonidine group as compared to the control group (P = 0.001). The number of rescue analgesia doses were more in Group A (3.3 ± 1.65) followed by Group B (2.35 ± 0.98) and Group C (1.75 ± 0.71). The sedation scores were significantly higher in Group C. However, shivering was seen in Group A (40%) and Group C (20%) and absent in Group B (P = 0.003).Thoracic epidural analgesia using bupivacaine with clonidine is an efficient therapeutic modality for postthoracotomy pain. Magnesium as an adjuvant provided quality postoperative analgesia decreasing the need for postoperative rescue analgesia and incidence of postoperative shivering without causing sedation.