Study: Patient's Opioid Use Disorder Could Signal Greater Risk for Postoperative Pulmonary Complications, Longer Stays, Higher Costs

September 19, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Postoperative pulmonary complications are more likely to occur if a patient has an opioid use disorder, according to a study published in the September 2018 issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia. Patients with an opioid use disorder are also more likely to have a longer stay after surgery and greater costs, the study's authors say. Retrospectively reviewing cases from a sample-weighted cohort of approximately 7.5 million patients who underwent any of six representative elective surgical procedures between 2002 and 2011, researchers confirmed that opioid-dependent patients had postoperative pulmonary conditions with a frequency rate of 4.2% compared with 1.6% for non-opioid-dependent patients). A secondary subgroup analysis showed that patients with opioid use disorder who had a colectomy were the only ones at a higher risk of pulmonary complications, indicating that such patients may be at particularly high risk.

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