Cardiac Surgery May Result in More Complications in Patients with Opioid Use Disorder

Dec 7, 2018

A new study has found that cardiology patients with opioid use disorders have more complications, longer hospital stays and costlier surgeries.

The study looked at 5.7 million patients who underwent cardiac surgery and compared outcomes of those who had opioid use disorders and those who didn’t. While there wasn’t a significant difference the rate of death between the two groups, patients with opioid use disorders had more complications, longer length of stay in the hospital and higher costs.

Over the last 15 years, researchers said there’s been an 8-fold increase of opioid use disorder among cardiac surgery patients and even that may be underreported. Prolonged opioid use has been associated with cardiovascular risk, but the research isn’t clear as to why exactly there’s a connection.

In the conclusion, the authors wrote that cardiac surgery is safe for patients with opioid use disorder, but that the patients should be carefully monitored postoperatively for complications.

The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.