Children aged 0-3 yr were stratified for age and randomized to receive either continuous morphine (CM, 10 microg x kg(-1) x h(-1)) with three-hourly placebo boluses or intermittent morphine (IM, 30 microg x kg(-1) every 3 h) with a placebo infusion for postoperative analgesia. Plasma concentrations of epinephrine, norepinephrine, insulin, glucose and lactate were measured before and at the end of surgery and 6, 12 and 24 h after surgery. Pain was assessed with validated pain scales [the COMFORT scale and a visual analogue scale (VAS)] with the availability of additional morphine doses. Minor differences occurred between the randomized treatment groups, the oldest IM group (aged 1-3 yr) having a higher blood glucose concentration (P=0.003), mean arterial pressure (P=0.02) and COMFORT score (P=0.02) than the CM group. In the neonates, preoperative plasma concentrations of norepinephrine (P=0.01) and lactate (P<0.001) were significantly higher, while the postoperative plasma concentrations of epinephrine were significantly lower (P<0.001) and plasma concentrations of insulin significantly higher (P<0.005) than in the older age groups. Postoperative pain scores (P<0.003) and morphine consumption (P<0.001) were significantly lower in the neonates than in the older age groups. Our results show that continuous infusion of morphine does not provide any major advantages over intermittent morphine boluses for postoperative analgesia in neonates and infants.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Age Distribution, Analgesics, Opioid/*administration & dosage, Blood Glucose/metabolism, Child, Preschool, Comparative Study, Double-Blind Method, Drug Administration Schedule, Epinephrine/blood, Female, Hormones/*blood, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Insulin/blood, Lactic Acid/blood, Male, Morphine/*administration & dosage, Norepinephrine/blood, Pain Measurement, Pain, Postoperative/blood/*drug therapy, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Stress/*prevention & control
Persistent URL
Journal British Journal of Anaesthesia
Bouwmeester, J, Anand, K.J.S, van Dijk, M, Hop, W.C.J, Boomsma, F, & Tibboel, D. (2001). Hormonal and metabolic stress responses after major surgery in children aged 0-3 years: a double-blind, randomized trial comparing the effects of continuous versus intermittent morphine. British Journal of Anaesthesia. Retrieved from