Background: Morphine is worldwide the analgesic of first choice after cardiac surgery in children. Morphine has unwanted hemodynamic and respiratory side effects. Therefore, post-cardiac surgery patients may potentially benefit from a non-opioid drug for pain relief. A previous study has shown that intravenous (IV) paracetamol is effective and opioid-sparing in children after major non-cardiac surgery. The aim of the study is to test the hypothesis that intermittent IV paracetamol administration in children after cardiac surgery will result in a reduction of at least 30% of the cumulative morphine requirement.
Methods: This is a prospective, multi-center, randomized controlled trial at four level-3 pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) in the Netherlands and Belgium. Children who are 0-36 months old will be randomly assigned to receive either intermittent IV paracetamol or continuous IV morphine up to 48 h post-operatively. Morphine will be available as rescue medication for both groups. Validated pain and sedation assessment tools will be used to monitor patients. The sample size (n = 208, 104 per arm) was calculated in order to detect a 30% reduction in morphine dose; two-sided significance level was 5% and power was 95%.
Discussion: This study will focus on the reduction, or replacement, of morphine by IV paracetamol in children (0-36 months old) after cardiac surgery. The results of this study will form the basis of a new pain management algorithm and will be implemented at the participating ICUs, resulting in an evidence-based guideline on post-operative pain after cardiac surgery in infants who are 0-36 months old.
- Intensive care
- Cardiac surgery
- ARISTOTLE COMPREHENSIVE COMPLEXITY
- CONGENITAL HEART-DISEASE
- CARDIOPULMONARY BYPASS
- POSTOPERATIVE PAIN
- ANALGESIC EFFICACY
- MAJOR SURGERY
- YOUNG INFANTS