Introduction Epidural analgesia provides an important synergistic method of pain control. In addition to reducing perioperative opioid consumption, the deliverance of analgesia into the epidural space, effectively creating a sympathetic blockade, has a multitude of additional potential benefits, from decreasing the incidence of postoperative delirium to reducing the development of persistent postsurgical pain (PPSP). Prior studies have also identified a correlation between the use of epidural analgesia and improved oncological outcomes and survival. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of epidural analgesia in pancreatic operations on immediate postoperative outcomes, the development of PPSP and oncological outcomes in a prospective, single-blind, randomised controlled trial. Methods The Epidurals in Pancreatic Resection Outcomes (E-PRO) study is a prospective, single-centre, randomised controlled trial. 150 patients undergoing either pancreaticoduodenectomy or distal pancreatectomy will be randomised to receive an epidural bupivacaine infusion following anaesthetic induction followed by continued epidural bupivacaine infusion postoperatively in addition to the institutional standardised pain regimen of hydromorphone patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), acetaminophen and ketorolac (intervention group) or no epidural infusion and only the standardised postoperative pain regimen (control group). The primary outcome was the postoperative opioid consumption, measured in morphine or morphine-equivalents. Secondary outcomes include patient-reported postoperative pain numerical rating scores, trend and relative ratios of serum inflammatory markers (interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α, IL-10), occurrence of postoperative delirium, development of PPSP as determined by quantitative sensory testing, and disease-free and overall survival. Ethics and dissemination The E-PRO trial has been approved by the institutional review board. Recruitment began in May 2016 and will continue until the end of May 2018. Dissemination plans include presentations at scientific conferences and scientific publications. Trial registration number NCT02681796.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere018787
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • adult anaesthesia
  • anaesthesia in oncology
  • cytokines
  • epidural
  • pain management
  • pancreatic cancer
  • postoperative pain


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