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Chronic pain after bilateral thoracotomy in lung transplant patients

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Background and aims The relative contribution of patient-related factors and intraoperative nerve damage for the development of chronic pain after surgery is unclear. This study aimed to examine chronic pain after bilateral thoracotomy. We hypothesized, that individual patient-related risk factors would be important resulting in an intraindividual uniformity of pain and hyperphenomena between the two sides of the thorax. Methods Twenty patients who had undergone lung transplantation via bilateral thoracotomy 6-12 months previously were included from the Danish Lung Transplant program, Rigshospitalet, Denmark, from October 2016 to August 2017. All patients answered questionnaires about pain in and around the scar, completed the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory, and underwent bedside examination for hyperphenomena (brush- and cold-evoked allodynia, pinprick hyperalgesia) and pinprick hypoalgesia. Results Nine patients reported spontaneous pain bilaterally, five patients had pain on one side only, and six patients had no pain. Hyperphenomena were present on both sides of the thorax in 13 patients, on one side in four patients, and three patients had no hyperphenomena. The intraindividual uniformity of pain (p=0.029) and hyperphenomena (p=0.011) between the two sides of the thorax suggests that patient-related factors play an important role in the development of chronic pain. Conclusions The results of the present study provide support for the hypothesis of an individual predisposition for the development of chronic pain after thoracotomy. Implications Patient-related risk factors contribute to the development of chronic pain after thoracotomy. This result most likely can be transferred to chronic pain after other surgical procedures and therefore help us understand risk factors for chronic pain after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Volume19
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)271-277
ISSN1877-8860
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019

ID: 56811989