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01.12.2017 | Study protocol | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Trials 1/2017

The NAPRESSIM trial: the use of low-dose, prophylactic naloxone infusion to prevent respiratory depression with intrathecally administered morphine in elective hepatobiliary surgery: a study protocol and statistical analysis plan for a randomised controlled trial

Trials > Ausgabe 1/2017
David Cosgrave, Marie Galligan, Era Soukhin, Victoria McMullan, Siobhan McGuinness, Anand Puttappa, Niamh Conlon, John Boylan, Rabia Hussain, Peter Doran, Alistair Nichol
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13063-017-2370-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Intrathecally administered morphine is effective as part of a postoperative analgesia regimen following major hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery. However, the potential for postoperative respiratory depression at the doses required for effective analgesia currently limits its clinical use. The use of a low-dose, prophylactic naloxone infusion following intrathecally administered morphine may significantly reduce postoperative respiratory depression. The NAPRESSIM trial aims to answer this question.


‘The use of low-dose, prophylactic naloxone infusion to prevent respiratory depression with intrathecally administered morphine’ trial is an investigator-led, single-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, double-arm comparator study. The trial will recruit 96 patients aged > 18 years, undergoing major open hepatopancreaticobiliary resections, who are receiving intrathecally administered morphine as part of a standard anaesthetic regimen. It aims to investigate whether the prophylactic administration of naloxone via intravenous infusion compared to placebo will reduce the proportion of episodes of respiratory depression in this cohort of patients.
Trial patients will receive an infusion of naloxone or placebo, commenced within 1 h of postoperative extubation continued until the first postoperative morning. The primary outcome is the rate of respiratory depression in the intervention group as compared to the placebo group. Secondary outcomes include pain scores, rates of nausea and vomiting, pruritus, sedation scores and adverse outcomes. We will also employ a novel, non-invasive, respiratory minute volume monitor (ExSpiron 1Xi, Respiratory Motion, Inc., 411 Waverley Oaks Road, Building 1, Suite 150, Waltham, MA, USA) to assess the monitor’s accuracy for detecting respiratory depression.


The trial aims to provide a clear management plan to prevent respiratory depression after the intrathecal administration of morphine, and thereby improve patient safety.

Trial registration, ID: NCT02885948. Registered retrospectively on 4 July 2016.
Protocol Version 2.0, 3 April 2017.
Protocol identification (code or reference number): UCDCRC/15/006
EudraCT registration number: 2015-003504-22. Registered on 5 August 2015.
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