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Background:Management of postoperative pain after caesarean section (CS) requires a balance between pain relief and undesirable side effects of drugs and technique. In order to improve postoperative pain management after caesarean section, we compared intravenous patient controlled analgesia (IV-PCA) with our current hospital practice, which is continuous opioid infusion.

Method: We enrolled one hundred and twenty patients in our prospective randomized trial after an uneventful elective caesarean section under spinal anaesthesia. All patients received 0.5 mg/kg bolus of pethidine on first complaint of pain or at 120 minutes after institution of spinal anaesthesia. Depending upon the ran-domization, Group P received IV-PCA with 0.15 mg/kg bolus pethidine with 10-minute lockout and Group C received continuous pethidine infusion at a rate of 0.15 mg/kg/hr.

Statistical Analysis: For qualitative variables means and stan-dard deviations were computed and analyzed by T-test, Mann Whitney U test and repeated measures ANOVA. Fre-quency and percentages were computed for qualitative data and analyzed by Chi-Square and Fischer exact test. A p-value of less than 0.05 was treated as significant.

Results: The numeric rating score for pain, need for rescue analge-sia and incidence of nausea and vomiting was significantly lower (p-value < 0.001) in IV-PCA group as compared to continuous infusion group at 6, 12 and 24 hours postoperatively, 98% of the patients were satisfied with pain manage-ment in Group P as compared to 70% (p < 0.001) in Group C.

Conclusion: Our results showed improved pain control, less need for rescue analgesia for breakthrough pain, lower incidence of nausea and vomiting and greater patient satis-faction with IV-PCA. In the absence of preservative free narcotics for intrathecal use, postoperative pain management can be significantly improved by using IV-PCA instead of continuous opioid infusion in patients undergoing caesarean section.


Open Journal of Anesthesiology