AbstractBackground and aimsBone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy (BMAB), performed under local anaesthesia in adults, is a common and often painful procedure. Anxiety is known to intensify pain during the procedure. Nitrous oxide (N2O), known for its sedative and analgesic benefit in various short medical procedures and labour pain, could be advantageous also for pain relief during bone marrow examination. N2O acts rapidly and is eliminated in a couple of minutes once the inhalation is stopped, and occasional side effects (e.g. dizziness and nausea) are mild. The aim of this study was to compare the analgesic effects of inhaled 50% mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to 50% oxygen during bone marrow examination.MethodsIn this randomized, controlled, patient and observer blinded study patients received either 50% mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen or 50% mixture of oxygen in air during bone marrow examination, in addition to local analgesia. Both patient groups comprised 35 adult patients. Pre-procedural anxiety and procedural pain were rated on the Numeral Rating Scale (NRS 0‒10). Cognitive function was measured before and 30 min after the procedure. Possible side effects were recorded. A telephone interview was performed 24 h later.ResultsThere were no statistically significant differences in pain scores of the procedural steps (median NRS ranging 3.0‒4.0) between the study groups. High pain scores of 8‒10 comprised 0% vs. 8.6% of the scores during infiltration, 2.9% vs. 5.7% during puncture, 11.4% vs. 14.3% during aspiration and 2.9% vs. 2.9% during biopsy in N2O and 50% O2 groups, respectively (NS). Pre-procedural anxiety (median NRS 3.5 in both groups), measured in the outpatient clinic just prior to procedure, correlated with pain intensity during bone marrow aspiration (P = 0.045). There were no significant differences between side effects. During the BMAB four patients (3 in N2O group, 1 in 50% O2 group) reported dizziness and one patient in the N2O group reported nausea. Gas inhalation did not affect the cognitive function of the participants. In both groups the majority (>80%) of the patients was satisfied with the inhalation technique. During the 24 h interview, most of the participants were pain free and they did not report any serious adverse effects.ConclusionsIn spite of similar moderate to strong procedural pain in both groups and no benefit of N2O, most patients were satisfied with the inhalational techniques. We assume that the bedside presence of an anaesthesiologist and the distraction caused by the inhalational arrangements introduced positive context-sensitive therapeutic effect independent of the gas used. Pre-procedural anxiety predicted pain associated with bone marrow aspiration.ImplicationsInhaled 50% nitrous oxide was not an effective analgesic during bone marrow examination in our unselected outpatient population. Further studies should concentrate on its use with patients predicted to be at increased risk of suffering intense pain during the procedure, such as very anxious patients or those who have a painful history of previous bone marrow examinations.
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Apr 1, 2015
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