The effects of thoracic epidurally administered drugs on urethral sphincter function in women: a pooled analysis

Wuethrich, Patrick Y.; Kessler, Thomas M.; Burkhard, Fiona C. (2013). The effects of thoracic epidurally administered drugs on urethral sphincter function in women: a pooled analysis. Pain medicine, 14(8), pp. 1248-1253. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/pme.12128

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OBJECTIVES Thoracic epidural analgesia (TEA) has been shown to inhibit detrusor activity in patients undergoing open renal surgery, resulting in clinically relevant post-void residuals. However, the impact of different epidural drug mixtures on urethral sphincter function is not completely elucidated. DESIGN Pooled analysis of an open observational study and a double-blind randomized trial. SETTING Single tertiary centre. SUBJECTS Twenty-eight women without lower urinary tract symptoms and post-void residual <100 mL, who underwent open renal surgery with TEA. METHODS Pooling results in three groups with different epidural regimens (7 with bupivacaine 0.125%, 8 with bupivacaine 0.125% and fentanyl 2 μg/mL, and 13 with bupivacaine 0.1% plus fentanyl 2 μg/mL and epinephrine 2 μg/mL). All women underwent urethral pressure measurements before TEA and during TEA 2-3 days postoperatively. All patients received a TEA placed at the insertion site interspace T 8-9. RESULTS Maximum urethral closure pressure at rest decreased significantly during TEA with bupivacaine alone (median 70 cm H2 O [interquartile range 66-76] to 43 [43-65], P = 0.031) and with bupivacaine/fentanyl/epinephrine (75 cm H2 O [68-78] to 56 [52-75], P = 0.028), whereas with bupivacaine/fentanyl, no significant change could be detected (74 [51-88] vs 67 [46-70], P = 0.156). In all groups, functional profile length at rest was not influenced during TEA. CONCLUSION TEA with bupivacaine and the addition of fentanyl and epinephrine appears to decrease maximum urethral closure pressure at rest in women. The addition of fentanyl alone to bupivacaine may reduce this effect. Thus, the TEA effect on urethral sphincter function seems to depend on the drug mixture administered.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Urology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy

UniBE Contributor:

Wüthrich, Patrick Yves; Kessler, Thomas M. and Burkhard, Fiona C.


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2014 09:36

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2018 12:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Epidural Analgesia, Urethral Sphincter Function




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