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Nitrous oxide mixture relieves biopsy pain

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A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen can be used in conjunction with local anaesthetics during painful biopsies, a study has shown.

Bone marrow biopsies are very common for haematological conditions but despite the use of local anaesthetics, many patients report pain during the procedure.

Researchers studied 48 patients in need of bone marrow biopsies who were randomised to receive either nitrous oxide/oxygen or just oxygen in addition to their local anaesthetic.

Results showed that the mixture resulted in significantly less pain for men, but not for women.

Authors write: ‘[Nitrous oxide/oxygen] may be tentatively recommended for routine use for pain relief in bone marrow biopsy.’

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2008) 17: 717-725

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