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Papers of the Week

2019 Dec




Barriers and Facilitators to Intraoperative Alternatives to Opioids: Examining CRNA Perspectives and Practices.


Velasco D, Simonovich SD, Krawczyk S, Roche B
AANA J. 2019 Dec; 87(6):459-467.
PMID: 31920199.


Opioids are the mainstay of intraoperative pain control, but they have several deleterious effects. Alternative medications and strategies to opioids, while effective in producing intraoperative analgesia, are underutilized by anesthesia providers. The purpose of this study was to examine and describe Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists' perspectives and practices on administering opioids vs nonopioid or opioid-sparing strategies ("opioid alternatives") to treat intraoperative pain. A qualitative study design using semistructured interviews was conducted (N = 12). Study participants described their perspectives and practices on treating intraoperative pain. Two key themes emerged: (1) barriers to intraoperative opioid-alternative administration and (2) facilitators to intraoperative opioid-alternative administration. Barriers expressed by study participants included opioid superiority, inconsistent analgesic effects of intraoperative opioid alternatives, limited experience with opioid alternatives, limited resources on opioid alternatives, negative experiences with intraoperative opioid-alternative administration, and patient comorbidities. Facilitators expressed by study participants included the adverse effects of opioids, institutional policy and procedures, positive experiences with opioid-alternative administration, and regional anesthesia superiority. This study highlights the importance of improving education, training, and institutional policies in support of opioid-alternative medications and strategies to treat intraoperative pain and better prevent opioid addiction and abuse.