Introduction of an Analgesia Prescription Guideline Can Reduce Unused Opioids After Cardiac Surgery: A Before and After Cohort Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE(S): The authors aimed to assess whether the introduction of a tailored Analgesia Prescription Guideline would decrease the amount of unused opioid following discharge from cardiac surgery. DESIGN: Prospective, observational, before and after study. SETTING: Quaternary care university hospital. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 191 participants who underwent cardiac surgery requiring midline sternotomy and cardiopulmonary bypass. There were 99 participants in the before cohort (prior to introduction of the Analgesia Prescription Guideline), and 92 participants in the after cohort (after introduction of the Analgesia Prescription Guideline). INTERVENTIONS: Using prospectively collected observational data on participant opioid consumption in the before cohort, a tailored Analgesia Prescription Guideline was developed. This guideline then was introduced to all opioid-prescribing providers in the cardiothoracic surgery department. Prospective data then were collected in the after cohort of participants. Opioid prescription practices and opioid consumption between the two groups then were compared. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Opioid prescriptions were given to 62/99 participants (63%) in the before cohort, and 48/92 (52%) in the after cohort (rate difference 0.1, CI 95% -0.26, 0.046). In the before cohort, the mean (± standard deviation) number of opioid tablets prescribed, used, and leftover was 26 (±10), 11 (±10), and 15 (±12), respectively. In the after cohort, the mean number of opioid tablets prescribed, used, and leftover was 18 (mean difference -8, CI 95% -12, -5), 10 (mean difference -1, CI 95% -5, 3), and 8 (mean difference -7, CI 95% -11, -3), respectively. There were 110/191 (58%) participants using no opioids following discharge, and 10/191 (5%) still using opioids two weeks after discharge. There were no differences between groups with regard to demographics, opioid-related side effects, pain scores, satisfaction, opioid storage. and disposal practices. CONCLUSIONS: The development and implementation of a tailored Analgesia Prescription Guideline decreased the amount of opioids prescribed after cardiac surgery and resulted in lower numbers of unused leftover opioid tablets in the community. Patient comfort and satisfaction scores remained high.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pena, JJ; Chen, CJ; Clifford, H; Xue, Z; Wang, S; Argenziano, M; Landau, R; Meng, M-L

Published Date

  • June 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1704 - 1711

PubMed ID

  • 33455887

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-8422

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1053/j.jvca.2020.12.021


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States