Analgesia in fast-track paediatric cardiac patients

Francesca G. Iodice, Mark Thomas, Isabeau Walker, Vanessa Garside, Martin J. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We introduced a fast-track program for our cardiac operations requiring adjustment in anaesthesia techniques to facilitate rapid extubation and discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU). Our objective was to investigate the quality of analgesia in fast-track paediatric cardiac patients. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of the records of all patients who were fast-tracked in our institution between January 2006 and January 2007. Data collected included surgical procedure, anaesthesia technique, intra-operative opioids, ventilation time, intensive care stay, postoperative morphine consumption, pain scores, patient-controlled analgesia/nurse-controlled analgesia (PCA/NCA) duration, supplemental analgesia and incidence of vomiting. Results: Fifty-four patients were studied, with a median age of 5.6 years (8 months-18 years), median weight 15.6kg (range: 6.4-101kg), median intensive care unit (ICU) ventilation time 1.1h (range: 0-8h) and median ICU stay of 4.1h (1-52h). All patients received intra-operative fentanyl, median dose of 16.8mcgkg -1 (range: 15-20mcgkg -1). Twenty-three children received a bolus of morphine intra-operatively median dose of 102mcgkg -1 (range: 50-170mcgkg -1). Those patients who did not receive a morphine bolus intra-operatively, received a 100mcgkg -1 loading dose of morphine in the ICU. Twenty-four patients received intravenous paracetamol intra-operatively and five patients were given both paracetamol and diclofenac. Twenty-five children were not given either paracetamol or diclofenac intra-operatively. During the postoperative period, all patients received morphine by infusion administered via either PCA (18%) or NCA)(73%). The median PCA/NCA infusion time was 28.9h. Forty-eight patients received paracetamol and non-steroidal analgesics postoperatively, either diclofenac or ibuprofen. Five patients received only paracetamol and only one patient required no supplemental analgesia. The bedside nurse reported the pain scores on an hourly basis on a 10-point visual analogue score where 0=no pain and 10=strongest pain. Pain scores showed that most patients after day 0 (which was the day of surgery) had only mild pain. Conclusions: Our data showed that our program achieves high-quality analgesia in fast-track paediatric cardiac patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-613
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


  • Analgesia
  • Fast track
  • Paediatric cardiac surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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