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Epidural Analgesia and Postoperative Complications in Colorectal Cancer Surgery. An Observational Registry-based Study

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2022 Jun 8. doi: 10.1111/aas.14101. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: In colorectal cancer, surgical resection is fundamental for curative treatment. Epidural analgesia mitigates the perioperative physiologic stress response caused by surgery, and reduction in perioperative stress may reduce postoperative complications. Nevertheless, epidural analgesia also causes hypotension and lower limb motor weakness that can impair postoperative recovery. Here, we aimed to assess the association between epidural analgesia and postoperative complications after colorectal cancer surgery.

METHODS: We identified patients undergoing colorectal cancer surgery 2008-2018 in Denmark in the Danish Colorectal Cancer Group Database and obtained anaesthesia data from the Danish Anaesthesia Database. The Danish National Prescription Registry was used to obtain data on prescriptions filled preoperatively reflecting current comorbidities. Databases were linked using the Danish Central Person Registry number and the operation day. Patients were classified according to preoperative insertion of an epidural catheter for analgesia. Confounders were adjusted by propensity score matching. Logistic regression was used to compute effect estimates of epidural analgesia on postoperative complications.

RESULTS: We identified 19932 individuals undergoing colorectal cancer surgery with available anaesthesia data. Propensity score matching yielded 5691 individuals in each group with balanced preoperative covariates. In the epidural analgesia group 1400 (24.6%) experienced complications compared with 1453 (25.5%) without epidural analgesia. We found no statistically significant association between epidural use and postoperative complications (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.87-1.04).

CONCLUSION: In total, in this observational study based on Danish registries, we found no association between epidural analgesia and postoperative complications after colorectal cancer surgery.

PMID:35675388 | DOI:10.1111/aas.14101

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