Comparison of patient-controlled analgesia and epidural morphine for postcesarean pain and recovery

Carl Vernon Smith, W. F. Rayburn, P. T. Karaiskakis, R. D. Morton, M. J. Norvell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


A greater awareness of the advantages and limitations of new methods of administering postcesarean analgesia would help the obstetrician care for the recovering patient. Patient-controlled analgesia and epidural morphine are two new modalities for postoperative pain relief. The purpose of this prospective investigation was to compare their effectiveness, safety, side effects, patient satisfaction and cost. During an eight-month period, 161 women undergoing cesarean delivery were assigned to receive narcotics by either epidural morphine (76 patients) or patient-controlled analgesia (85 patients) using a combined continuous infusion and demand dosing of meperidine. The demographic characteristics of the two groups were similar. Mild or no pain was reported with similar frequencies in both groups. No reduced respiration or undesired sedation was seen in either group. The postoperative times before sitting at the bedside, ambulating, tolerating clear liquids and leaving the hospital were also comparable. No complications were encountered with patient-controlled analgesia, but pruritus and alarms from apnea monitors occurred commonly in the epidural morphine group. The costs to the patient were similar for the two groups. Patient-controlled analgesia using a combined continuous infusion and demand dosing is an acceptable alternative to epidural morphine after cesarean delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 22 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this