Analgesia and endocrine surgical stress: effect of two analgesia protocols on cortisol and prolactin levels during abdominal aortic aneurysm endovascular repair.

OBJECTIVES: Endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair was performed with local anaesthesia and intravenous analgesia. The objective of the study was to evaluate how two analgesia protocols affected stress response, measured as cortisol, 17-OH progesterone (17OHP) and prolactin (PRL) concentration during the procedure.

METHODS: 44 patients undergoing elective AAA endovascular repair were included to either receive regular boluses of fentanyl midazolam or remifentanil continuous infusion, analgesia was monitored by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) measurement; cortisol, 17OHP and PRL were sampled preoperatively, at skin incision, endovascular prosthesis release and skin suture.

RESULTS: 42 patients were included. Mean VAS values were lower in the remifentanil group 0.50±0.68 vs 1.48±1.20, p=0.002 at incision, 0.24±0.58 vs 1.45±1.18, p<0.001 prosthesis release, 0.51±0.90 vs 1.73±1.45, p=0.002 suture. No statistically significant difference was found among cortisol and 17OHP levels; PRL was significantly lower in the fentanyl-midazolam group (23.83±16.92 ng/ml vs 40.81±22.45 p=0.009 at prosthesis release and 28.23±15.05 vs 41.37±14.54, p=0.007 at suture).

CONCLUSIONS: Although statistically significant VAS difference had a limited clinical impact due to its small entity. The group that experienced less pain showed a more intense PRL response, while cortisol and 17OHP did not reach statistical significance.

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