Objective: To study the general efficacy of hydromorphone as a systemic analgesic in postoperative pain management following single-port video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and to explore the optimal administration regimen.
Methods: A prospective, randomized, double-blind study was designed and conducted in a tertiary hospital. In total, 157 valid patients undergoing single-port VATS were randomly allocated into three groups. A total of 53 patients received morphine bolus only for postoperative analgesia (Group Mb); 51 patients received a hydromorphone background infusion plus bolus (Group Hb + i), and 53 patients received a hydromorphone bolus only (Group Hb). The primary outcomes were patient-reported static and dynamic pain levels; the secondary outcomes included side effects, sleep quality, and recovery indexes.
Results: Patients in Group Hb + i experienced lower pain intensity (approximately 10 out of 100 on the visual analog scale) in both static pain and dynamic pain in the days following surgery ( P<0.01), better sleep quality during the first night only ( P=0.002), and a higher satisfaction level than those in the other two groups ( P=0.006). A comparison of these variables in Group Mb and Group Hb resulted in no significant differences. Lastly, side effects and recovery indexes remained the same among bolus-only groups and bolus-plus-background-infusion groups.
Conclusion: There is no advantage to administering hydromorphone over morphine using bolus only mode. Within 24 h after surgery, a background infusion should be considered as a part of a standard protocol for patient-controlled intravenous analgesia. At 24 h after surgery, the background infusion should be adjusted in accordance with patient preferences and pain intensity.