Increased Risk of Postthoracotomy Pain Syndrome in Patients with Prolonged Hospitalization and Increased Postoperative Opioid Use

Michelle A O Kinney, Adam K. Jacob, Melissa A. Passe, Carlos Bernardo Mantilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background. Postthoracotomy pain syndrome (PTPS) is unfortunately very common following thoracotomy and results in decreased quality of life. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine perioperative patient, surgical, and analgesic characteristics associated with the development of PTPS. Methods. Sixty-six patients who presented to the Mayo Clinic Rochester Pain Clinic were diagnosed with PTPS 2 months or more after thoracotomy with postoperative epidural analgesia. These patients were matched with sixty-six control patients who underwent thoracotomy with postoperative epidural analgesia and were never diagnosed with PTPS. Results. Median (IQR) hospital stay was significantly different between control patients (5 days (4, 6)) compared with PTPS patients (6 days (5, 8)), P < 0.02. The total opioid equivalent utilized in oral morphine equivalents in milligrams for the first three days postoperatively was significantly different between control patients and PTPS patients. The median (IQR) total opioid equivalent utilized was 237 (73, 508) for controls and 366 (116, 874) for PTPS patients (P < 0.005). Conclusion. Patients with a prolonged hospital stay after thoracotomy were at an increased risk of developing PTPS, and this is a novel finding. Patients who utilize higher oral morphine equivalents for the first 3 days were also at increased risk for PTPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7945145
JournalPain Research and Treatment
StatePublished - 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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