Are Opioid Painkillers Needed Weeks After Heart Surgery? Maybe Not

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News Picture: Are Opioid Painkillers Needed Weeks After Heart Surgery? Maybe NotBy Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporters

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay Information)

Restoration from heart surgical procedure can deliver some pain. However a new study suggests sufferers do not want probably addictive prescription opioids to regulate that post-op discomfort.

“This examine exhibits that discharge with out opioid pain drugs after cardiac surgical procedure is extraordinarily effectively tolerated by some sufferers. In different phrases, we shouldn’t be reflexively prescribing pain drugs to individuals after surgical procedure simply in case they want it,” mentioned examine creator Dr. Catherine Wagner, of the College of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

The brand new examine was revealed on-line Dec. 15 in The Annals of Thoracic Surgical procedure. Within the analysis, Wagner’s crew analyzed knowledge from greater than 1,900 U.S. sufferers who underwent heart bypass surgery, heart valve surgery, or a mix of each procedures. All surgical procedures had been performed utilizing a vertical incision within the heart of the chest. The operations had been accomplished at 10 medical facilities in Michigan in 2019.

Multiple-quarter (28%) of the sufferers didn’t obtain an opioid painkiller prescription after they had been discharged from the hospital, Wagner’s group famous. Sufferers had been much less prone to have been given a prescription for an opioid in the event that they had been older or had spent extra time within the hospital after surgical procedure.

“In some instances, sufferers assume that after surgical procedure, particularly a giant operation like cardiac surgical procedure, that they might want to go dwelling with prescription pain drugs,” Wagner mentioned in a journal information launch.

However her crew discovered that fewer than 2% of sufferers who hadn’t already gotten an opioid prescription after they’d been discharged from the hospital later discovered they wanted an opioid earlier than their 30-day follow-up appointment.

The findings “ought to present sufferers with reassurance that post-operative ache might be managed with non-opioid ache medicines at dwelling,” Wagner mentioned.

Dr. Yili Huang directs the Pain Management Heart at Northwell Well being’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hole, N.Y. He wasn’t concerned within the new examine, however mentioned it addresses a significant post-operative hazard: opioid addiction.

“Research have proven that about 10% of sufferers develop persistent opioid use after cardiac surgical procedure, and it’s extremely related to the quantity of opioids they’re prescribed on discharge,” Huang famous.

“Due to this fact, any knowledge demonstrating that minimizing opioids after cardiac surgical procedure is encouraging,” he added.

Given the extent of post-operative ache usually encountered by recovering sufferers, “the truth that virtually 30% of sufferers didn’t want prescription opioids after discharge is placing,” Huang mentioned. He harassed that the typical bypass or valve restore affected person spends no less than every week within the hospital after their surgical procedure, and plenty of might, in reality, obtain an opioid throughout that point.

So, “there’s nonetheless a job for opioid ache care within the speedy post-operative interval – particularly after cardiac surgical procedure,” Huang believes.

However the brand new examine means that longer-term use of opioids after hospital discharge is not all the time needed, and “many sufferers don’t want prescription opioids for so long as we initially thought,” he mentioned.

Dr. Thomas MacGillivray, of Houston Methodist in Texas, was in a roundabout way concerned within the examine however was aware of the findings. Talking within the journal information launch, he mentioned, “For many years, surgeons have unwittingly however considerably contributed to the opioid epidemic.”

MacGillivray defined that “with one of the best intentions to assist relieve ache and alleviate anxiety about ache, discharge practices have often erred on the aspect of prescribing too many fairly than too few narcotic ache capsules. We’ve got realized that most of the unused, unneeded narcotics find yourself in the neighborhood. This crucial examine will assist surgeons determine sufferers who might comfortably be discharged dwelling with out narcotics.”

Based on recent data from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, no less than 70% of U.S. deaths in 2019 linked to drug overdose – about 49,000 lives misplaced – had been linked to opioids.

Extra info

The U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse has extra on prescription opioids.

SOURCES: Yili Huang, DO, MBA, director, Pain Management Heart, Northwell Well being’s Phelps Hospital, Sleepy Hole, N.Y.; The Annals of Thoracic Surgical procedure, information launch, Dec. 16, 2021

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