Fixed 50:50 mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to reduce lumbar-puncture-induced pain: a randomized controlled trial.

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Fixed 50:50 mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen to reduce lumbar-puncture-induced pain: a randomized controlled trial.

Eur J Neurol. 2017 Jan;24(1):46-52

Authors: Moisset X, Sia MA, Pereira B, Taithe F, Dumont E, Bernard L, Clavelou P

Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Lumbar puncture (LP) has been frequently performed for more than a century. This procedure is still stressful and often painful. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of a fixed 50% nitrous oxide-oxygen mixture compared to placebo to reduce immediate procedural pain and anxiety during LP.
METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was conducted involving adults who needed a cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Patients were randomly assigned to inhale either a fixed 50% nitrous oxide-oxygen mixture (50% N2 O-O2 ) or medical air (22% O2 -78% N2 ). Cutaneous application of a eutectic mixture of local anaesthetics was systematically done and all LPs were performed with pencil point 25G needles (20G introducer needle). The primary end-point was the maximal pain level felt by the patient during the procedure, the maximal anxiety level being a secondary outcome, both measured using a numerical rating scale (0-10).
RESULTS: A total of 66 consecutive patients were randomized. The analysis was intention to treat. The maximal pain was 4.9 ± 2.7 for the 33 patients receiving air and 2.7 ± 2.7 for the 33 receiving 50% N2 O-O2 (P = 0.002). Similarly, the maximal LP-induced anxiety was 4.5 ± 3.1 vs. 2.6 ± 2.6 (P = 0.009), respectively. The number needed to treat to avoid one patient undergoing significant pain (pain score ≥ 4/10) was 2.75. Body mass index >25 kg/m2 was significantly associated with higher pain intensity (P = 0.03). No serious adverse events were attributable to 50% N2 O-O2 inhalation.
CONCLUSIONS: Inhalation of a fixed 50% N2 O-O2 mixture is efficient to reduce LP-induced pain and anxiety.

PMID: 27666149 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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