Research Article

Comparative trial of rectal indomethacin and cryoanalgesia for control of early postthoracotomy pain.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 05 November 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1335
  1. D J Keenan,
  2. K Cave,
  3. L Langdon,
  4. R E Lea


    A randomised double blind trial was carried out over the first two days after thoracotomy to compare the analgesic effects of rectal indomethacin 100 mg administered eight hourly, cryoanalgesia, and a combination of both of these with the effects of conventional intramuscular opiate analgesia. Pain scores were significantly reduced with both rectal indomethacin alone and cryoanalgesia alone; these treatments had an additive effect when used in combination. Pain on movement was significantly increased, and indomethacin was more effective in reducing this than cryoanalgesia. Groups receiving either indomethacin alone or the combination treatment required significantly less opiate on the first day and exhibited improved peak flow values over the first two days. It is concluded that rectal indomethacin, in this dosage, can provide good, safe analgesia after thoracotomy with minimum administrative difficulty. When used as an adjunct to cryoanalgesia it has an additive effect. There are many potential uses for this drug in other branches of surgery.