Opioid analgesia is the cornerstone of anaesthetic management during cardiac surgery. However, a subset of patients use opioids persistently after three months of surgery. We discuss a recent meta-analysis and systematic review by Liu and colleagues describing both patient and peri-procedural risk factors that contribute to this phenomenon in the context of chronic pain after cardiac surgery. Anaesthetists for cardiac surgery should consider opioid alternatives and individual patient risk factors to optimise recovery and pain control.
Keywords: cardiac surgery; chronic pain; multimodal analgesia; perioperative opioid use; persistent opioid use.
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