Background and research objectives: Individuals with coronary artery disease undergo coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce early death. Pain is the most prevalent symptom identified by persons after CABG surgery. The objective of the study was to compare the prevalence and severity of pain and pain-related interference with activities in men and women 9 weeks after CABG surgery.
Subjects and methods: Participants included men (n = 78) and women (n = 17) who were having first-time nonemergency CABG surgery. Pain outcome data were collected via telephone using the McGill Pain Questionnaire and the Brief Pain Inventory-Interference Subscale.
Results and conclusions: Forty-seven percent of the women (n = 8) had moderate to severe pain described as the "worst pain in previous 24 hours with movement" 9 weeks following discharge from CABG surgery. More women were divorced, widowed, or single (P = .0002). There was a statistically significant between-groups difference, with more women reporting moderate to severe pain with movement (P = .03), as well as greater interference with walking (P = .01) and sleeping (P = .01) due to pain. Further research with larger sample sizes should investigate what conditions lead to the sex differences in the pain experience after CABG surgery, what mechanisms and support structures underlie these differences, and how these differences can inform the clinical management of pain.