Oxygen saturation was continuously measured using computerised pulse oximetry for 8 h overnight pre‐operatively and for the first 24 h postoperatively in 40 patients receiving intermittent intramuscular morphine or continuous infusion of morphine following elective upper abdominal surgery. The proportion of time with an oxygen saturation less than 94% was used as an index of de'saturation. Patients receiving continuous infusion analgesia received a larger morphine dose and achieved better analgesia than the intramuscular group. Postoperatively, the duration of desaturation increased 10‐fold over pre‐operative values, ‘intramuscular’ patients spending 39.0% (SD, 37.0%) and ‘continuous infusion’ patients 40.0% (SD, 37.5%) of the time below 94% saturation. Although newer therapies (e.g. epidural analgesia and patient‐controlled analgesia) are currently receiving greater attention, the sequelae of these more traditional analgesic techniques warrant further study.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 1992|