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Chronic Pain After Cardiac Surgery 

Chronic Pain After Cardiac Surgery
Chronic Pain After Cardiac Surgery

Jennette D. Hansen

, and Mark A. Chaney

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date: 13 August 2020

Chronic pain after cardiac surgery can impair quality of life and rehabilitation. Chronic pain is difficult to study, and depending on how patients are questioned, the incidence of chronic pain after sternotomy is between 17% and 56%, and chronic pain after thoracotomy is between 15% and 80%. Several risk factors are independent predictors for the development of chronic pain. In recent years, minimally invasive techniques have been utilized in cardiac surgery patients to potentially minimize pain and to decrease length of stay in the hospital. At this point in time, no single regimen has been proven superior at preventing chronic pain. An aim to treat acute pain without delaying extubation has been the recent focus of pain management, with research in neuraxial and peripheral nerve blocks. In addition, multimodal analgesia is key for treatment of acute pain to allow patients to deep breathe, cough, and ambulate comfortably without respiratory depression. Some believe treatment of acute pain leads to less development of chronic pain; however, this has not yet been definitively proven.

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