The appropriate management of postoperative pain is recognized as an important clinical challenge with implications beyond humanitarian issues. Evidence shows that effective postoperative analgesia is associated with physiological benefits to the patient, shortened length of hospital stay and lower rates of in-hospital complications, such as pneumonia, delirium and persistent pain after surgery. However, despite the availability of several analgesic drugs and strategies the prevention and treatment of postoperative pain is often suboptimal. Remifentanil is a potent short acting opioid commonly used in continuous infusion for anesthesia for several surgical procedures. Remifentanil has been extensively advocated as a means to provide quick patient awakening in the immediate postoperative period with a very low risk of respiratory depression. Yet it does not provide residual analgesia and postoperative pain is a major concern. In order to overcome this limitation, practicing anesthesiologists frequently give patients a single dose of Sufentanil, a long acting opioid, during the induction of anesthesia where Remifentanil will be used in continuous infusion. However the effectiveness of this strategy still lacks evidence from controlled clinical trials. Therefore we propose the current randomized clinical trial to assess the analgesic effectiveness of Sufentanil administered as a single dose during the induction of anesthesia for the management of postoperative pain in patients undergoing open abdominal surgery performed with continuous infusion of Remifentanil.
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