Comparing Analgesia on an As-Needed Basis to Traditional Intravenous Patient-Controlled Analgesia Within Fast-Track Orthopedic Procedures: A Randomized Controlled Trial



      Aims: To determine if the use of intravenous patient-controlled analgesia (IVPCA) in a fast-track joint replacement program is associated with increased use of perioperative opioid consumption and increased length of hospital stay.


      A prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial.


      Academic hospital.


      A total of 80 patients aged 18-85 years, with body mass index (BMI) 18-40, undergoing elective total knee arthroplasty were recruited.


      Pre-operatively, patients received gabapentin, celecoxib, and acetaminophen. Peri-operatively, patients received spinal anesthesia with morphine and fentanyl, and periarticular local anesthetic administration by the surgeon. Postoperatively, 80 patients were randomized by a computer-generated sequence into IVPCA group (group A, n = 40) and non-IVPCA group (group B, n = 40).


      The primary outcome was 48-hour postoperative opioid consumption and length of hospital stay. Secondary outcomes included side effects of opioids, patient satisfaction, and pain scores. There was no significant difference within 48-hour postoperative opioid consumption (median 61.3 vs. 87.5, p = .181) and length of hospital stay (median 49.8 hours vs. 49.5 hours; p = .89) between the two groups. Also, there was no significant difference in patient satisfaction (median 5 in both groups), pain scores, and opioid-related side effects.


      IVPCA was associated with nonsignificant reduction in opioid exposure in elective total knee arthroplasty surgery within 48 hours. Neither group was superior in terms of length of hospital stay, opioid related side-effects, pain scores, and patient satisfaction.
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