Adjunct High Frequency Transcutaneous Electric Stimulation (TENS) for Postoperative Pain Management during Weaning from Epidural Analgesia Following Colon Surgery: Results from a Controlled Pilot Study

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Abstract

The potential benefit of nonpharmacological adjunctive therapy is not well-studied following major abdominal surgery. The aim of the present study was to investigate transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a complementary nonpharmacological analgesia intervention during weaning from epidural analgesia (EDA) after open lower abdominal surgery. Patients were randomized to TENS and sham TENS during weaning from EDA. The effects on pain at rest, following short walk, and after deep breath were assessed by visual analog scale (VAS) grading. Number of patients assessed was lower than calculated because of change in clinical routine. Pain scores overall were low. A trend of lower pain scores was observed in the active TENS group of patients; a statistical significance between the groups was found for the pain lying prone in bed (p< .05). This controlled pilot study indicates benefits of TENS use in postoperative pain management during weaning from EDA after open colon surgery. Further studies are warranted in order to verify the potential beneficial effects from TENS during weaning from EDA after open, lower abdominal surgery.

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