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Epidural analgesia/anaesthesia versus systemic intravenous opioid analgesia in the management of blunt thoracic trauma

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Report by Richard Parris, Consultant in Emergency Medicine

Checked by Barbara Scobie, ST3 in Emergency Medicine


A short cut review was carried out to establish whether an epidural infusion provided any advantage over intravenous analgesia in the management of blunt thoracic trauma. Only four papers presented evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of this paper are presented in table 2. The clinical bottom line is that epidural analgesia may provide better pain relief, but may not alter clinical outcomes.

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Table 2

Three part question

In a [patient …

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