Randomized Prospective Evaluation of Intraoperative Intravenous Acetaminophen in Pediatric Adenotonsillectomy

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Abstract

Objective

To establish the safety and efficacy of single-dose intraoperative intravenous (IV) acetaminophen in postoperative pain management following adenotonsillectomy in addition to a standardized regimen of oral pain medication.

Study Design

Randomized, controlled prospective clinical trial.

Setting

Single academic medical center.

Subjects and Methods

Patients between the ages of 3 and 17 years scheduled for tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy by a single surgeon between December 2014 and November 2016 were recruited. Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups; group 1 received a single intraoperative dose of IV acetaminophen, and group 2 did not. Induction and maintenance of anesthesia, as well as operative technique, were standardized. Nursing pain scores, pain medications administered, and recovery times were reviewed during the 24-hour postoperative period. Postoperative pain regimen included standing alternating oral acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Results

In total, 260 patients were included in the study, and 131 (50.4%) received a single intraoperative dose of IV acetaminophen. Patients receiving IV acetaminophen were more likely to experience postoperative nausea and vomiting than patients who did not receive IV acetaminophen (1.53% vs 0.00%, P = .016). There were no significant differences noted for postoperative pain scores, requirements for breakthrough pain medications, time to discharge from the recovery room or hospital, or postoperative complications.

Conclusion

The use of a single intraoperative dose of IV acetaminophen was associated with minimal additional adverse effects. However, a single intraoperative IV dose of acetaminophen added to standard narcotic and nonnarcotic pain medication does not provide a statistically significant improvement in pain control.

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