DG Journal Club
J Surg Res. 2022 Nov 22; 283 377-384
INTRODUCTION Intercostal nerve cryoablation reduces postoperative pain in adults undergoing thoracotomy and children undergoing pectus excavatum repair. We hypothesize that cryoablation is associated with decreased post-thoracotomy pain and opioid use in pediatric oncology patients.
METHODS A single-center retrospective cohort study was performed for oncology patients who underwent thoracotomy from January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2021. Outcomes included postoperative opioid use measured in morphine milligram equivalents per kilogram (MME/kg), pain scores (scale 0-10), and opioid prescription at discharge. Univariable analysis compared patients who received cryoablation to patients who did not receive cryoablation. Multivariable regression analysis controlling for age and prior thoracotomy evaluated associations between cryoablation and postoperative pain.
RESULTS Overall, 32 patients (19 males:13 females) underwent thoracotomy with 16 who underwent>1 thoracotomy resulting in 53 thoracotomies included for analysis. Cryoablation was used in 14 of 53 (26.4%) thoracotomies. Throughout the postoperative hospitalization, patients receiving cryoablation during thoracotomy consumed less opioids compared to patients who did not receive cryoablation (median 0.38 MME/kg, interquartile range [IQR] 0.20-1.15 versus median 1.47 MME/kg, IQR 0.71-4.02, P < 0.01). Maximum pain scores were lower in cryoablation patients (median 6, IQR 5-8) than noncryoablation patients (median 8, IQR 6-10), with a significant difference observed on postoperative day 4 (P = 0.01). Cryoablation patients were also less frequently prescribed opioids at discharge (21.4% versus 58.97%, P = 0.02). Multivariable regression demonstrated that cryoablation was associated with 2.59 MME/kg less opioid use (95% confidence interval -4.56 to -0.63) and decreased likelihood of opioid prescription at discharge (adjusted odds ratio 0.14, 95% confidence interval 0.03-0.67).
CONCLUSIONS Cryoablation is significantly associated with decreased post-thoracotomy pain and opioid use in pediatric cancer patients and should be considered in postoperative pain regimens.
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