Background: Post-operative ileus is a frequent complication of gastrointestinal surgery under general anaesthesia. The aim of this study was to investigate whether combined epidural-general anaesthesia is associated with expedited gastrointestinal function recovery in neonates undergoing elective gastrointestinal surgery. Methods: A randomized controlled trial including 60 neonates who underwent gastrointestinal surgery at a university hospital was performed. Thirty neonates received combined epidural-general anaesthesia (CEGA), and 30 neonates received general anaesthesia (GA) alone. The primary outcome was the post-operative time to tolerance of full enteral nutrition. The secondary outcomes were the post-operative time defaecation, the duration of nasogastric drainage, and infections. Results: After excluding two neonates from the CEGA group, where repeated attempts at epidural catheterization were unsuccessful, a total of 58 patients completed the study (CEGA: 28; GA: 30). Full enteral nutrition was tolerated earlier in CEGA vs the GA group (4.0 vs 8.0 days; P =.0001). Time to defaecation was shorter in the CEGA group (3.5 vs 5.0 days; P =.0001). Duration of nasogastric drainage was similar between groups (7.0 vs 7.0 days; P =.9502). Fewer patients in the CEGA group experienced post-operative infection (35.7% vs 60.0%; P =.038). Conclusion: Combined epidural-general anaesthesia is associated with expedited gastrointestinal function recovery and a lower infection risk after gastrointestinal surgery in neonates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine