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A study looking at pain control after surgery to the lung (ErLaPara Study)

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

This study is looking at pain control after having surgery for lung cancer or mesothelioma of the lung.

Doctors may use surgery to treat lung cancer and mesothelioma. They may do this by doing a type of keyhole surgery using a camera. This is called video assisted thoracic surgery (VATs). Any surgery to the chest and lung can be painful.  

After surgery doctors control pain with a drug that numbs the nerves (local anaesthetic) in the area. You have this through a thin plastic tube that the surgeon places in your chest near the wound. They usually start the local anaesthetic after surgery.

The researchers think that pain maybe better controlled if local anaesthetic was started soon after the start of surgery.

The aim of this trial is to find out if starting local anaesthetic soon after the beginning of surgery is better than starting it after surgery.


Start 01/01/2013
End 18/06/2014



Who can enter

You may be able to enter this trial if you are attending the University Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and you

  • Are having lung surgery using the camera assisted technique (VATs) – your doctor can confirm this
  • Are able to have a surgery and a general anaesthetic
  • You are at least 18 years old

You cannot enter this trial if you

  • Have an infection of the spine or area around the spine
  • Are attending a pain clinic and are having high doses of painkilling medication called  opioid drugs, for example morphine or codeine, for ongoing pain
  • Have had a severe reaction to, or are allergic to, local anaesthetic

Trial design

This study will recruit 100 people. It is a randomised trial. The people taking part are put into treatment groups by a computer. Neither you nor your doctor will be able to decide which group you are in. And neither of you will know which group you are in either. This is called a double blind trial.

The 2 groups in this study are

  • Those who have a local anaesthetic soon after the beginning of surgery and dummy drug (placebo) at the end of surgery
  • Those who have a dummy drug soon after the beginning of surgery and a local anaesthetic at the end of surgery

After surgery everyone has the painkiller (local anaesthetic) through a tube.

ErLaPara Study diagram

You have your surgery as planned. You have a general anaesthetic. Before starting surgery your surgeon will put a thin plastic tube into your chest. They will inject a dose of the local anaesthetic, or dummy drug, into the tube.

After surgery you have the painkiller (local anaesthetic) through the tube as usual.

You fill in a questionnaire on the first and second day after your surgery. The questionnaire will ask about any pain you have.

Hospital visits

There are no extra hospital visits if you take part in this study. A member of the study team will phone you 6 months after your surgery to see how you are.

Side effects

There are no side effects to taking part in this study. You have pain relief as usual after your surgery.

We have general information about what happens immediately after surgery.

Location of trial


For more information

Please note: we cannot help you to join a specific trial. Unless we state otherwise in this trial summary, you need to print this page and take it to your own doctor to discuss.

Find out how to join a trial or contact our cancer information nurses for other questions about cancer by phone (0808 800 4040), by email, or at

The Information Nurses
Cancer Research UK
Angel Building
407 St John Street

Chief Investigator

Dr Kajan Kamalanathan

Supported by

David Telling Charitable Trust
United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust
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Updated: 25 June 2014