Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy causes discomfort in the immediate postoperative period. This randomised controlled trial investigated if intrathecal bupivacaine/morphine, in addition to general anaesthesia, could be beneficial for the postoperative quality of recovery. One hundred and fifty-five patients were randomly allocated to an intervention group that received intrathecal 12.5 mg bupivacaine/300 μg morphine (20% dose reduction in patients > 75 years) or a control group receiving a subcutaneous sham injection and an intravenous loading dose of 0.1−1 morphine. Both groups received standardised general anaesthesia and the same postoperative analgesic regimen. The primary outcome was a decrease in the Quality of Recovery-15 (QoR-15) questionnaire score on postoperative day 1. The intervention group (n = 76) had less reduction in QoR-15 on postoperative day 1; median (IQR [range]) 10% (1–8 [−60% to 50%]) vs. 13% (5–24 [−6% to 50%]), p = 0.019, and used less morphine during the admission; 2 mg (1–7 [0–41 mg]) vs. 15 mg (12–20 [8–61 mg]), p < 0.001. Furthermore, they perceived lower pain scores during exertion; numeric rating scale (NRS) 3 (1–6 [0–9]) vs. 5 (3–7 [0–9]), p = 0.001; less bladder spasms (NRS 1 (0–2 [0–10]) vs. 2 (0–5 [0–10]), p = 0.001 and less sedation; NRS 2 (0–3 [0–10]) vs. 3 (2–6 [0–10]), p = 0.005. Moreover, the intervention group used less rescue medication. Pruritus was more severe in the intervention group; NRS 4 (1–7 [0–10]) vs. 0 (0–1 [0–10]), p = 0.000. We conclude that despite a modest increase in the incidence of pruritus, multimodal pain management with intrathecal bupivacaine/morphine remains a viable option for robot-assisted radical prostatectomy.

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Keywords intrathecal morphine, postoperative analgesia, quality of recovery, robot-assisted radical prostatectomy
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Journal Anaesthesia
Koning, M.V, de Vlieger, R. (R.), Teunissen, A.J.W. (A. J.W.), Gan, M. (M.), Ruijgrok, E.J, de Graaff, J.C, … Stolker, R.J. (2019). The effect of intrathecal bupivacaine/morphine on quality of recovery in robot-assisted radical prostatectomy: a randomised controlled trial. Anaesthesia. doi:10.1111/anae.14922