Background: The objective of this initiative was to perform a prospective, multicenter survey of patients after lung resection to assess the amount of opioid medication consumed and the disposition of unused opioids to inform the development of evidence-based prescribing guidelines. Methods: Adults undergoing lung resection with either minimally invasive surgery (MIS; n = 108) or thoracotomy (n = 45) were identified prospectively from 3 academic centers (from March 2017 to January 2018) to complete a 28-question telephone survey 21 to 35 days after discharge. Discharge opioids were converted into morphine milligram equivalents (MME) and were compared across patient and surgical details. Results: Of the 153 patients who completed the survey, 89.5% (137) received opioids at discharge with a median prescription of 320 MME (interquartile range [IQR], 225, 450 MME) after MIS and 450 MME (IQR, 300, 600 MME) after thoracotomy (P = .001). Median opioid consumption varied by surgical approach: 90 MME (IQR, 0, 262.5) after MIS and 300 MME (IQR, 50, 382.5 MME) after thoracotomy (P < .001). The majority of patients (73.7%; 101) had residual opioid medication at the time of the survey, and patients after MIS had a relative increase in amount of remaining opioid medication: 58.3% vs 33.3% (P = .05) of the original prescription. Only 5.9% of patients with opioids remaining had properly disposed of them. Conclusions: Although patients undergoing MIS lung resection used significantly less opioid medication over a shorter duration of time than did patients after thoracotomy, they had relatively more excess opioid prescription. Evidence-based, procedure-specific guidelines with tailored pain regimens should be developed and implemented to reduce the amount of postoperative opioid medication remaining in the community.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine