Visceral nociception readily sensitizes the central nervous system, causing referred somatic pain and hyperalgesia via somato-visceral convergence. Hyperalgesia in the perioperative period may increase vulnerability to subsequent development of chronic pain. The study aim is to investigate the role of angina pectoris, an ischemic visceral pain, in long-term pain after coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). We sent questionnaires to 369 patients who underwent CABG surgery in 2003. Questions were asked about angina pectoris and other pain in the period before surgery, the first week postoperatively (= acute pain), and the period after 3 months after surgery (= chronic pain). We obtained results from 256 patients (response rate = 69%). The point prevalence of chronic pain after CABG was 27% after a mean follow-up of 16 months (SD +/- 3 months). Patients with chronic pain after CABG had more angina pectoris than those without chronic pain: Before surgery (P = .07), early on postoperatively (P = .004), and more than 3 months after surgery (P = .000004). We found cumulative prevalences of chronic pain after CABG at 3 months of 39%, and of 32% after 6 months. Other predictive factors for chronic pain after CABG were acute postoperative pain (P = .00002) and younger age (P = .002). Angina pectoris is associated with chronic pain after CABG surgery. Other predictive factors include acute postoperative pain and younger age.
Perspective: The influence of postoperative angina pectoris for chronic pain after CABG surgery has not been described in the literature to date. Visceral nociception may play an important role in the development of chronic pain after surgery and should be taken into account in future studies.