Dr. Andrew Fagan

Incidence and impact of persistent opioid use after cardiac surgery in Manitoba

Opioids play an important role in surgical pain management, but recent information has shown that overuse can lead to longer term abuse known as persistent opioid use (POU). There is growing concern that the overuse of opioids after surgery is contributing to the opioid crisis.

Estimates have found that one in 10 patients have long-term problems with ongoing dependency on opioid medications, particularly people who have rarely used these medications before surgery. The incidence and long-term impacts of POU after cardiac surgery in Manitoba is unknown.

Manitoba has a unique and world- class database at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP). We seek to study POU in what will be one of the largest studies in Canada. We will look back from 1995 to 2016 to see how common POU has been and its effects on patients and the healthcare system. We will take a deep look at the health, environmental, and social factors that affect these patients.

This study will provide important information on how routine hospital pain management after heart surgery has affected patients in the past and how providers can develop new methods – including non-opioid methods to enhance a patient’s recovery. The results will be used to develop safer prescribing practices in hospitals and inform healthcare policy in Manitoba and the broader global surgical community.