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Papers of the Week

Papers: 7 Mar 2020 - 13 Mar 2020

2020 Mar 03

Ann Thorac Surg

Pain and Opioid Use After Thoracic Surgery: Where We Are and Where We Need To Go.


Brown LM, Kratz A, Verba S, Tancredi D, Clauw DJ, Palmieri T, Williams D
Ann Thorac Surg. 2020 Mar 03.
PMID: 32142814.


As many as one third of patients undergoing minimally invasive thoracic surgery and one half undergoing thoracotomy develop chronic pain, defined as pain lasting 2-3 months. There is limited information regarding predictors of chronic pain and even less is known about its impact on health-related quality of life, known as pain interference. Currently, there is a focus on decreased opioid prescribing after surgery. Interestingly thoracic surgical patients are the least likely to be on opioids before surgery and have the highest rate of new persistent opioid use after surgery compared to other surgical cohorts. These studies of opioid use have identified important predictors of new persistent opioid use, but their findings are limited by failing to correlate opioid use with pain. The objectives of this invited review are to present the findings of pertinent studies of chronic pain and opioid use after thoracic surgery, "where we are", and to discuss gaps in our knowledge of these topics and opportunities for research to fill those gaps, "where we need to go".