Sternotomy Wound Infiltration With Liposomal Versus Plain Bupivacaine for Postoperative Analgesia After Elective Cardiac Surgery

Published:October 11, 2022DOI:


      Poor pain control after cardiac surgery can be associated with postoperative complications, longer recovery, and development of chronic pain. The authors hypothesized that adding liposomal bupivacaine (LB) to plain bupivacaine (PB) will provide better and long-lasting analgesia when used for wound infiltration in median sternotomy.

      Study Design

      Prospective, randomized, and double-blinded clinical trial.


      Single institution, tertiary care university hospital.


      Adult patients who underwent elective cardiac surgery through median sternotomy.


      A single surgeon performed wound infiltration of LB plus PB or PB into the sternotomy wound, chest, and mediastinal tube sites.

      Measurements and Main Results

      Patients were followed up for 72 hours for pain scores, opioid consumption, and adverse events.
      Sixty patients completed the study for analysis (LB group [n = 29], PB group [n = 31]). Patient characteristics, procedural variables, and pain scores measured at specific intervals from 4 hours until 72 hours postoperatively did not reveal any significant differences between the groups. Mixed-model regression showed that the trend of mean pain scores at movement in the LB group was significantly (p = 0.01) lower compared with the PB group. Opioid consumption over 72 hours was not significantly different between the 2 groups (oral morphine equivalents; median [interquartile range], 139 [73, 212] mg in LB v 105 [54, 188] mg in PB, p = 0.29). Recovery characteristics and adverse events were comparable.


      LB added to PB for sternotomy wound infiltration during elective cardiac surgery did not significantly improve the quality of postoperative analgesia.

      Key Words

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