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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia

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FERREIRA, Fabiana Cristina; ISSY, Adriana Machado  and  SAKATA, Rioko Kimiko. Assessing the effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in post-thoracotomy analgesia. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2011, vol.61, n.5, pp.564-567. ISSN 0034-7094.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, but it may also be indicated for postoperative analgesia. The objective of this study was to evaluate the analgesic effects of TENS on post-thoracotomy. METHODS: Thirty patients between 18 and 60 years of age undergoing thoracotomy for lung cancer resection on the second postoperative day were included in this study. Patients were divided into two groups (G1 and G2). G1 patients were treated with TENS; and in G2 (without TENS) electrodes were placed but the equipment was not turned on. TENS was maintained for one hour. The visual analogue scale was used to evaluate the analgesic effects on three moments: before TENS (M0), immediately after TENS (M1), and one hour later (M2), with the patient at rest, elevation of the upper limbs, change in decubitus, and coughing. RESULTS: The intensity of pain at rest was higher in G2 immediately after TENS, but not one hour after the procedure. There was no difference between both groups with elevation of the upper limbs, decubitus change, and coughing. CONCLUSIONS: With the use of TENS for one hour on the second post-thoracotomy day in patients who received fentanyl (50 µg) associated with bupivacaine (5 mL), a reduction in pain intensity was observed at rest immediately after TENS; with elevation of the upper limbs, change in decubitus, and coughing, a reduction in pain severity was not observed.

Keywords : Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation; Thoracotomy; Pain, Postoperative; Pain Measurement.

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