Chronic opioid use after coronary bypass surgery

Sameer A. Hirji, Samantha Landino, Claudia Cote, Jiyae Lee, Vwaire Orhurhu, Rohan M. Shah, Siobhan McGurk, Tsuyoshi Kaneko, Prem Shekar, Marc P. Pelletier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Opioid dependence has become a major health care issue. Pain management of invasive surgical procedures with opioids may potentially contribute to this epidemic. We sought to determine the association of opioid-prescribing patterns with chronic opioid use. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures during 2016 at a single institution. Prescribing patterns and medication usage were compared between opioid-naïve and opioid-exposed patients (patients with reported opioid use within 30 days prior to surgery). Chronic opioid dependence was defined as opioid usage beyond 90 days after discharge. Results: We included 284 opioid-naïve and 46 opioid-exposed patients. Although overall prescribing patterns were similar between groups, a higher proportion of opioid-exposed patients were prescribed a total dose >150 mg of oxycodone per discharge prescription (15.2% vs 4.9%; P = 0.024), and had a higher proportion of refills within 30 days (28.3% vs 10.9%; relative risk [RR] 3.2 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5-6.8]; all P < 0.05). The incidence of chronic opioid dependence was higher among opioid-exposed patients compared to opioid-naïve patients (21.7% vs 3.2%; RR 8.5 [95%CI: 3.2-22.3]; P = 0.001). Conclusions: Ongoing opioid use 3 months after CABG is present in 21.7% of opioid-exposed patients and 3.2% of opioid-naïve patients. These preliminary findings highlight the burden of prescribing patterns on the overall opioid epidemic and the need to develop alternative pain management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cardiac surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


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