Patients with heart surgery may not need opioids at home

MONDAY, December 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Heart surgery patients can manage postoperative pain at home with non-opioid pain relievers, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Catherine M. Wagner, MD, of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and colleagues have identified predictors for patients not to receive an opioid prescription when returning home after heart surgery. The analysis looked at 1,924 opioid-naive patients (mean age, 64 years; 25% female) undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting and / or sternotomy valve surgery in 10 hospitals in 2019.

The researchers found that 28% of all patients were discharged from the hospital without an opioid prescription. Older age, longer hospital stay, and surgery in the last three months of the study were independent predictors of over-the-counter opioid discharge. In contrast, depression, non-black and non-white race, and use of more opioid pills the day before discharge were independent predictors of obtaining an opioid prescription. Ten of the 547 patients discharged without a prescription for opioids were subsequently prescribed an opioid. “The increase in the number of patients discharged without a prescription for opioids may be an area of ​​quality improvement,” the authors write.

One author has revealed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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