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Parent/Nurse-Controlled Analgesia Compared with Intravenous PRN Opioids for Postsurgical Pain Management in Children with Developmental Delay: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Med 2018 04 01;19(4):742-752



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85057473652   2 Citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to conduct a randomized, controlled comparison of outcomes associated with parent/nurse-controlled analgesia (PNCA), with and without a basal (background) opioid infusion, with intravenous (IV) opioids intermittently administered by a nurse on an "as needed" basis (IV PRN) for postoperative pain management in children with developmental delay (DD).

Methods: Participants included children with DD expected to require IV opioids for at least 24 postoperative hours. Patients were randomized to one of three groups: PNCA with a basal infusion, PNCA without a basal infusion, or IV PRN opioids. Demographics, pain scores, opioid consumption, and frequency of side effects were collected beginning 12 hours after emerging from anesthesia to decrease the impact of anesthetic agents on outcomes.

Results: The 81 participants (median = 12.0, 9.0-15.0 years) were primarily Caucasian (74%) males (58%), with severe DD (69%) having spinal surgery (41%). The proportion of patients in each group with pain scores ≤3 vs ≥ 4 revealed no between-group differences in any epoch (P = 0.09-0.27). Patients in the PNCA with a basal group consumed significantly more opioid (median = 0.03 mg/kg/h morphine equivalents, 0.02-0.03 mg/kg/h) than the PNCA without a basal infusion. No difference was found between the PNCA without a basal (median = 0.01 mg/kg/h morphine equivalents, 0.00-0.02 mg/kg/h) and the PRN groups (median = 0.01 mg/kg/h morphine equivalents, 0.01-0.02 mg/kg/h). There were no statistically significant differences in side effects, with the exception that more children in the PNCA group required supplemental oxygen (P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Results suggest there may be no advantage to PNCA over PRN opioids in this patient population after the first 12 postoperative hours with regard to pain scores, opioid consumption, or side effects.

Author List

Czarnecki ML, Hainsworth KR, Simpson PM, Weisman SJ


Keri Hainsworth PhD Associate Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Pippa M. Simpson PhD Chief, Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Steven J. Weisman MD Professor in the Anesthesiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Administration, Intravenous
Analgesics, Opioid
Developmental Disabilities
Pain Management
Pain, Postoperative
jenkins-FCD Prod-484 8aa07fc50b7f6d102f3dda2f4c7056ff84294d1d