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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 930-936

Tunneling does not prevent dislodgment of epidural catheters: A randomized trial

1 Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan
2 Department of Nursing, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hussein Y Abukhudair
King Hussein Cancer Center, Queen Rania Al Abdullah Street, P. O. Box 1269, Al-Jubeiha, Amman 11941
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aer.AER_159_18

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Background: Epidural analgesia is preferred in postoperative pain control, but dislodgment is a major factor for failure. Tunneling is well known to control displacement of catheters. In this study, we evaluated if we can depend on tunneling in preventing dislodgment of epidural catheters. Aims: The aim is to study if tunneling is effective and safe in reducing the rate of epidural catheters' dislodgment. Setting and Design: The study was carried out at a single tertiary cancer center. The trial was parallel, simple randomized, controlled, and single blind. Allocation of treatments was generated using random number tables. Subjects and Methods: Two hundred patients undergoing major surgeries were randomized. Epidural catheters were affixed to the skin through subcutaneous tunneling to a length of 5 cm or using standard adhesive tape without tunneling. Patients were on follow-up for 6 days postsurgery according to policy. Statistical Analysis Used: Categorical variables were analyzed by Chi-square and Fisher's exact test. Student t-test was used for continuous variables. Results and Conclusion: A total of 200 patients were randomized, 92 patients received tunneled catheters and 108 received nontunneled catheters. Patients were between 20 and 85 years; 63% were male. The mean days of epidural analgesia were similar in both groups (2.7 compared to 2.5 days). About 7.6% of epidurals were dislodged in the tunneled group compared to 10.2% in the nontunneled group (P = 0.699). No differences were identified in the incidence of pain or adverse events between the groups. Tunneling did not improve the rates of dislodgment in epidural catheters. There were no safety concerns associated with tunneling epidural catheters.

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