Epidural analgesia and gastrointestinal motility after open abdominal surgery-a review

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After major abdominal surgery, postoperative ileus is inevitable, and it has always been a challenge for the surgical team to shorten the duration of this period. Based on many clinical and basic reports that affirm the effect on the recovery of gastrointestinal motility, epidural analgesia has been used widely to promote recovery from postoperative ileus. Different techniques have been used to measure gastrointestinal motility in laboratory and clinical investigations. Many of the techniques used in clinical investigations of gastrointestinal motility are controversial because they are subjective. In the laboratory strain gauge force transducer (SGT) can provide objective data on gastrointestinal motility. Nevertheless the significance of SGT in the clinical setting is yet to be confirmed. Therefore in this review we examine both clinical and laboratory outcomes of epidural analgesia on gastrointestinal motility to present the possibility for the development of gastrointestinal motility research with SGTs. We suggest that further investigation using SGTs may lead to the development of objective methods that allow objective assessment of post-surgical gastrointestinal function.<br>



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