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A randomized double-blind study was undertaken to investigate whether 0.25 per cent bupivacaine administered intrapleurally is an effective and reasonably safe method of obtaining analgesia in patients with thoracic injuries, A total of 120 patients complaining of pain after chest injury were entered into the trial All had thoracostomy tubes already in situ. Of 60 patients who were given the test dose of bupivacaine intrapleurally, 37 obtained satisfactory pain relief for 2 or more hours compared with only 9 of 60 patients who received saline P < 0.000001). Duration of analgesia in the test group (mean 3.9 h) was significantly longer than that in the control group (mean 0.9 h) P < 0.005). There were no important side-effects attributable to the bupivacaine administered. We conclude that intrapleural bupivacaine is an effective and reasonably safe method for obtaining analgesia in patients who have chest drain tubes inserted.
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Accepted: June 11, 1990
© 1991 Published by Elsevier Inc.