Indian Journal of Anaesthesia

: 2009  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 434--442

An Acetazolamide Based Multimodal Analgesic Approach Versus Conventional Pain Management in Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy

Rupinder Singh1, Indu Sen2, Jyotsna Wig3, M Minz4, Ashish Sharma5, Indu Bala6,  
1 Senior Resident, Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive care, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive care, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India
3 Professor & Head, Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive care, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India
4 Professor & Head, Department of Transplant Surgery, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India
5 Assistant Professor, Department of Transplant Surgery, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India
6 Professor, Department of Anaesthesia & Intensive care, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160012, India

Correspondence Address:
Indu Sen
Post box No 1519, PGI Campus, Sectorl 2-A, Chandigarh-160012


Choice of an appropriate anaesthetic technique and adequate pain relief during laparoscopic living donor ne­phrectomy (LDN) is likely to make the procedure more appealing to kidney donors. Various analgesic regimens proposed to relieve pain after laparoscopic surgery include: opioids, non-opioid analgesics followed by opioids for the breakthrough pain and intra-peritoneal normal saline irrigation and instillation of local anaesthetics at surgical sites. Thorough literature review and medline search did not reveal any study where a combination of orogastrie aeetazolamide along with intraperitoneal saline irrigation and bupivacaine instillation techniques have been tried in these patients. In a prospective, double blind, randomized trial, eighty healthy adults undergoing LDN under general anaesthesia were enrolled to compare the efficacy of an acetazolamide based multimodal analgesic approach (Group A) with conventional pain management (Group B). Donors«SQ» demographics, intra-operative variables, early allograft function and recovery characteristics were evaluated for 72 hours. The primary end points were postoperative pain intensity on a visual analog scale and the incidence of shoulder tip pain (SIP). The secondary end points included the latency of the rescue analgesia request rate, total analgesic consumption and patient satisfaction. Consistently lower mean pain scores were observed in Group A (p <0.03 for visceral pain). Frequency as well as the total dose of rescue analgesics administered was significantly less in Group A (p=0.001). Twelve patients (30.7%) in Group B complained of STP compared to three (7.5%) in Group A(p=0.025). Shoulder pain also presented earlier (8 hours versus 12 hours) and persisted for longer period in Group B (72 hours versus 48 hours, p 0.025). To conclude, a multimodal analgesic approach consisting a combination of orogastric acetazolamide, intraperito­neal saline irrigation and use of bupivacaine in the operated renal fossa, pfannenstiel incision and laparoscopic port sites provide significant reduction in postoperative pain after LDN.

How to cite this article:
Singh R, Sen I, Wig J, Minz M, Sharma A, Bala I. An Acetazolamide Based Multimodal Analgesic Approach Versus Conventional Pain Management in Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy.Indian J Anaesth 2009;53:434-442

How to cite this URL:
Singh R, Sen I, Wig J, Minz M, Sharma A, Bala I. An Acetazolamide Based Multimodal Analgesic Approach Versus Conventional Pain Management in Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Living Donor Nephrectomy. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2009 [cited 2020 Dec 4 ];53:434-442
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Lapamscopy has broughta substantial change in the field of renal transplantation with a gradual shift from the traditional laparotomy approach to ami imally inva­sive laparoscopic nephrectomy technique [1],[2],[3],[4] Although laparoscopic surgery facilitates a significantly faster re­covery without compromising graft function, the CO 2 pneumoperitoneum and patient position ingrequired for urology laparoscopy induces patho-physiological changes thatmakes the management of anaesthesia com­plex and challenging [3],[4],[5],[6] . Moreover; laparoscopic surgery still involves apainful recovery. Pain atthe laparoscopic port sites, lower abdominal incision, pelvic organ nociception, ureteric colic and shoulder-tip pain contrib­ute to the totalpain experience in the postoperative pe­riod [7],[8],[9],[10],[11] Some patients may require more analgesia as com­pared to open nephrectomy in first 24 hours [2] .

Various analgesic regimens have been proposed to relieve pain after laparoscopy. These include: ad­ministration of oral opioids at regular intervals, non­opioid analgesics followed by opioids for the breakthrough pain and intravenous morphine infu­sion pumps for patient-controlled analgesia. [5],[9] Intra­peritoneal normal saline irrigation and instillation of lo­cal anaesthetics has been found to be effective in re­ducing the postoperative narcotic requirement. [12] Alter­natively, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors have been used to preventthe formation of carbonic acid. [13],[14] How­ever, search for idealanalgesic regimens is still on. Since the aetiology of post operative pain following laparoscopic living donornephrectomy (LDN) is multi factorial and there is paucity of data on the multiple prongtherapy inthese patients. We plannedthis study to compare the analgesic efficacy of a combination of oro gastric acetazolamide, intraperitoneal irrigation of normalsaline followed by instillation of bupivacaine in the operated renal fossa and bupivacaine infiltration at incision sites with the conventional care group, where only bupivacaine was infiltrated at incision sites in the patients undergoing laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. The primary endpoints of the study were postopera­tive pain intensity on a visual analog scale and the inci­dence of shouldertip pain. The secondary end points included the latency of the rescue analgesiarequest rate, total analgesic consumption and patient satisfaction.


After obtaining approval from the institutional eth­ics committee and written informed consent from the participants, this prospective, double blind, random­ized trial was conducted on eighty healthy renal donors of either gender, ASAI-II, aged 18-55 years undergo­ing laparoscopic donor nephrectomy under general anaesthesia from July 2005-September 2007. During prean aesthetic evaluation, the participants were made familiar with 11 point visual analog scale. (where 0 is no pain and 10 is worst imaginable pain) [15] . We excludedpatients with pre-existing neuromuscular dis­orders, shoulderpathology, chronic obstructive pulmo­nary disease, double renal artery, hypokalemia /hy­ponatremia/metabolic acidosis, sulfonamide allergy, diuretics or lithium therapy, analgesics/antiemetics intake in the last l2hours. Donors undergoing removalofright kidney or patients in whom laparoscopic procedure had to be converted to open neph ectomy were not evalu­ated. Allthe participants were instructed to fast for eight hours priorto surgery. Premeditation consisted of oral ranitidine (150mg), metoclopramide (10mg)& diazepam (5mg) administered two hours prior to surgery.

Allparticipants were randomly allocated into two groups A& B, (n=40 each group) to receive either of the two analgesic regimens. Group A(multimodal anal­gesia care group) received orogastric acetazolamide through Ryle's tube soon afterthe induction of anaes­thesia( -1 diluted in l0mlnormalsaline followed by 10 ml saline flushing). Powdered sachets of 5, 10, 50 and 100 mg acetazolamide were prepared with the help of microbalance for adequate dosing. At the completion of surgical procedure, 15-20 -1 nor­mal saline was used forthe intraperitoneal irrigation.'Ihis was followed by local instillation of l. -1 dose of 0.5% bupivacaine in the operated renal fossa and bupivacaine infiltration (15m1 of 0.25%) at the organ retrieval incision site and laparoscopic port sites. In Group B (Conventional care group) only bupivacaine (15ml of 0.25%) was infiltrated at surgical incision sites on the completion of procedure.

On the day of surgery, heart rate (HR), electro­cardiography (ECG), arterial oxygen saturation (SpO 2 ),non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP) and endtidal carbon dioxide (EtC0 2 )were monitored continuously and recorded at an interval of 10 minutes till the end of surgery. General anaesthesia was induced with intra­venous morphine sulphate ( -1 ), sleep dose of propofol (2 to -1 ) and vecuronium ( -l ) to facilitate endotrachealintubation. Ma­esthesia was maintained with Datex Ohmeda Aesitva­5 anesthesia ventilator using 100% oxygen and isoflurane (0. 5-2%) titrated to effect. Afterthe induc­tion of anaesthesia, a Ryle's tube was inserted orally and gastric contents were aspirated out. Acetazolamide -1 diluted in lOml normal saline was administered through Ryle's tube in Group A. Thereafter, do­nor was shifted to the modified flank position with the torso in a 45-degree lateral decubitus position for transperitoneal nepluectomy. Pneumoperitoneum was established by CO 2 insufflation limiting pressure to -1 and atropine 50µ -1 . Patients'were extubated on meeting the standard criteria forextubation and shed to renal post anaesthesia care unit (PACU). An anaesthesiologist who was not aware of the patients' group assignments recorded vital signs (heart rate, res­piratory rate and non-invasive blood pressure), level of sedation, (assessed by the Modified Observers As­sessment of Alertness/Sedation Score (OAA/S) [16] and intensity of pain (assessed by a linear Visual Analog Scale) [15] forthe fast 72 hours after completion of sur­gery. He recorded parietal and visceral pain at rest (supine), on movement (sitting up from supine) and af­ter coughing. Shoulder pain was also evaluated. Pain assessments were done at 30 min, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours after shiftingthe patient to post anaesthe­sia care unit. Patients were requested to evaluate their overallpostoperative pain management at the end of study period.

Rescue analgesia (intravenous injection of tramadol -1 ) was given if VAS score was >3. If the pain persisted even after 30 minutes of intrave­nous tramadol administration, the single dose of intra­venous pethidine -1 was given (second res­cue analgesic agent). The time from extubation of the patient to the administration of first dose ofrescue an­algesic was recorded. Total dose and frequency of administration oftramadol and pethidine during the postoperative period were noted. The incidence and severity of postoperative nausea & amp; vomiting/retching and the frequency of administration ofrescue antiemetics were also noted. Side effects attributable to the study drug were specifically observed & amp;recorded. (allergic reactions, drowsiness, paresthesia).

The number ofpatients required forthe study were calculated to detect a difference of at least two pain scale units in aten point VAS. Atotal of 37 participants were needed to detect a significant difference between groups with a 0.05 level and 80% power in two-sided test of hypothesis. Adjustingfor participants who may not complete the study, we enrolled 40 adults in each group. The demographic data and haemodynamic pa­rameters were compared using independentt test. Chi­square test was used to compare the descriptive data. Pain scores forthe different pain components were compared using Mann Whitney `U' test. The occur­rence of postoperative emetic episodes, rescue anti­emetic therapy and rescue analgesic therapy were ana­lyzed withthe Chi-square test orthe Fisher Exact test where appropriate. The statistical analysis was performed usingthe SPSS for windows version 13.0. Statistical sig­nificance was defined asp = 0.05. All values were ex­pressed as mean + SD, median (IQR) or number (%).


Amongst eighty adults enrolled, one patient in the conventional care group required surgical re-explora­tion for post operative bleeding, hence he was excluded from data analysis. Donor characteristics, perioperative haemodynamic variables, mean EtCO, duration of pneu­mop eritoneum, duration of surgery, anaesthesia time, quantity of intravenous fluids administered infra-opera­tivelywere comparable in boththe groups [Table 1].

Comparison of postoperative parietal and visceral pain VAS scores at rest, during movement and on coughing are depicted in [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]. Pain evaluations done at specific time intervals of 0.5, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours after extubation revealed that parietal pain was dominant over the visceral and shoulder pain in both the groups. Howeverthe intensity of pain was lesser on movement and coughing in multimodal anal­gesia group, especially duringthe first 12 postopera­tive hours. On adjusting forrepeated analysis of samevariable over time, using the conservative bonferroni correction where p value of less than 0.006 was con­sidered statistically significant, we found that at 48hr of interval the visceral pain at restwas less in Group A as compared to the Group B.

Twelve patients (30.7%) in Group B complained of shouldertip pain (STP) compared to 3 patients (7.5%) in Group A. (p=0.025). Pain also presented earlier in conventional care group (8hours)than in the multimodal analgesia group (12 hours). Assessment of pain at 36 postoperative hours indicated that 8(20.5%) patients in Group Bhad shoulderpain, whereas in Group A, none of participants complained ofS TP (p = 0.025). The pain also persisted up to 72hours in Group B (five patients ; 12.8%) as compared to group A where only two pa­tients complained of referred pain at 48 hours [Table 2]. The mean intensity ofshouldertip pain (VAS) was lower in Group A compared to Group B at all time intervals in the postoperative period. This difference was statisti­cally significant at 36 hrs and 72 hrs in the postoperative period (p = 0.05) [Table 3]. The mean (VAS in cm) intensity of individual pain component ie parietal, vis­ceraland shouldertip pain are shown in [Figure 3].

The time from extubationto the administration of first dose oftmmadol was significantly longer in Group A (189.30± 152.28 min versus 122.30± 88.46 min Group B) (p=0.045). Both frequency and total con­sumption of tramadolwere significantly less in Group A (p=0.00). The number of patients requiring second res­cue analgesia, the difference in the frequency of admin­istration and total dose of second rescue analgesia re­quirement was similarin both the groups. The second rescue analgesia (intraven ous pethidine) was given in 5 patients (12.5%) ofGroup Aversus 11 patients (27.5%) in Group B (p=0.08). From extubation, the time of ad­ministration of second analgesia was 677.00± 185.93 minutes in Group A and 613.64± 189.83 minutes in Group B (p=0.54). The total dose ofpethidine admin­istered postoperatively was similar in both the groups. (p=0.90) [Table 3].

The incidence of nausea was 27.5% in Group A and 51.2% in Group B (p=0.05). In Group A,7 (17.5%) patients had vomiting, while in Group B, 8 (20.5%) patients complained of vomiting in the post­operative period (p=0.95). Rescue antiemetics were given to 7 patients in Group A and 13 patients in Group B.No adverse effects were noted in any of the par­ticipants related to anaesthetic interventions. All the participants were satisfied with the anesthetic tech­nique used.


Living donor nephrectomies are routinely being performed for last five years in our institute, thus fulfill­ing one of the basic criteria for design of perioperative analgesiatrials. In the present study, two groups had similar demographic profile, perioperative hemody­namic parameters and other intraoperative variables like the duration of pneumoperitoneum, end tidal carbon dioxide concentration, surgery and anaesthesiatime. As reported in the literature [5],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] , the intensity of pari­etal pain perceived was more than visceral pain and pain used to aggravate during movement and cough­ing. However, we found consistently lower parietal and visceralpain scores and the incidence of shoulder pain was reduced to one fourth in Group A compared to Group B. This difference in pain scores can be attrib­uted to the analgesic regimen used.

Previously, reduction in parietal pain scores have been demonstrated by local anaesthetics infiltration into the laparoscopic incision sites inlaparoscopic chole­cystectomy, appendicectomy, gynecologic or urologi­cal laparoscopy patients. [5],[7],[17],[18],[19] However, the literature is notuniform on this aspect with several studies failing to show a significant effect. [20],[21] In a systematic review; Moiniche et al [20] found no evidence ofany measurable effect of port site infiltration with local anaesthetics on postoperative pain. In the present study, atthe comple­tion of procedure, allthe patients received bupivacaine infiltration (15m1 of 0.25%) at surgical incision/port sites. But, Group Bpatients perceived significantly more pain, even duringrest. There was a significant differ­ence in median VAS on movement and coughingat 30 minutes, 4hour, 8hour and 12 hour of postoperative period. Thus, trocar site infiltration alone was not found to be effective for postoperative pain management. Another analgesic modality used in the treatment group was intraperitoneal saline irrigation for removal of re­sidual carbon dioxide and bupivacaine instillation into the operated renal fossa. It has been reported that this maneuver significantly reduces postoperative analgesic requirements. [13],[18],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27] Recently, Boddy et al [12] con­ducted ameta-analysis of the 24randomized controlled trials to establish the safety and efficacy of intraperito­neal local anaesthesia it laparoscopic cholecystecto­mies. The drug was administered after the surgical dis­section in fifteen trials and in another six studies, local anaesthetics were instilled both before and after the establishment of pneumoperitoneum. Authors suggested that local anaesthetics may be more effective if at least some ofit is instilled before any surgical dissection. In present study, significant improvement in pain scores was noticed in the first 12 hours only. Further reduc­tion in post-laparoscop is pain might have been achieved by preemptive administration of local anaesthetics. Fu­ture studies can be conducted to establish this fact in laparosepic donor nephrectomies.

Patients in multimodalanalgesia group also re­ceived orogastric acetazolamide [13] , a carbonic anhy­drase inhibitorwhich decreases the rate of formation of H+ ion and can retard peritoneal acidification responsible for visceral and referred pain after lparoscopy. Harvey et al [14] investigated the effect of intravenous acetazolamide ( -1 ) on post laparoscopic cholecystectomy pain and found that in­travenous acetazolamide given just afterinduction of anesthesiareduces the referred pain in the initial post­operative period. In a previous study conducted in our institute (Bala I etal. Personal Communication), oral acetazolamide was administered two hours prior to laparoscopic cholecystectomy, incidence of STP was 35% in the control group, 15% in the acetazolamide group and 10% in the saline irrigation group. As IV preparation of the drug was not available in India and the bioavailability of drug is 100% even after oral use [13] ,acetazolamide was administered via the orogastric route, just after the induction of anaesthesia. Using this technique concomitant with intiaperitonealsaline irri­gation and bupivacaine instillation reduced referred pain in multimodal analgesia group patients to 7.5% (72 hours observation period) thoughthe duration ofpneu­moperitoneum was more than two times in LDN pa­tients comparedto laparoscopic cholecystectomy sur­gery. The reported incidence of shouldertip pain is 35­-63% after laparoscopic sterilization [17] and 30-45% post laparoscopic cholecystectomy [14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22] , when patients were evaluated for 24-48 hours. Bisgaard et al ob­served an incidence of 38-66% in first week and 21­25 % in 4 th week after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. [28] However, there is paucity of data on the incidence of shouldertip pain after laparoscopic renal surgeries. Keeping in mind, the nature of surgery and associated reduction in renal blood flow by pneu­moperitoneum (which can predispose healthy renal donors to the postoperative risk of acute renal failure), intravenous tramadol was used to meet addi­tional analgesia requirements and administration NSAID's drugs was avoided. The time intervalfor the first dose of rescue analgesiaadministration was longer and total analgesic consumption was reduced in multimodal analgesia group.

Though present study is not adequately powered to detect drug related side effects, none of the partici­pants had adverse effects related to the study drugs (bupivacaine and acetazolamide). Sundaram et a1 [29] performed a retrospective chart review for 253 laparoscopic live donors. The overall rate of compli­cations in the investigated series was 10.3%. Three of their patients required reexp loration for postoperative bleeding. In the present study, re-exploration was re­quired in one of the participants where it was found that aweck clip had partially slipped from a gonadal vessel. This patient was excluded from the data analy­sis because repeat surgery potentially confounds post­operative pain. No other surgical complications were noted. Allthe allografts functioned wellimmediately after the surgery. There were no readmissions.

In conclusion, a multimodal analgesic approach provides betterpostoperative pain relief after LDN. This includes a combination of orogastric acetazolamide, in­traperitoneal saline irrigation and use of bupivacaine in the operated renal fossa, pfannenstiel incision and laparoscopic port sites. Further large randomized trials are indicated to detem inethe cost-effectiveness and adverse eventpmfile ofthis combined analgesia modal­ity in laparoscopic donornephrectomy surgeries.


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