The impact of multimodal analgesia in coronary artery bypass graft surgery—a population-based analysis

Crispiana Cozowicz, Haoyan Zhong, Jashvant Poeran, Alex Illescas, Jiabin Liu, Lazaros A. Poultsides, Dimitrios V. Avgerinos, Stavros G. Memtsoudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Multimodal pain management aims to concurrently target several pain pathways for improved treatment efficacy and recovery. We investigated associations between multimodal analgesia use and postoperative complications, length of hospital stay (LOS), and opioid consumption among patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 349,940 adult patients undergoing elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery (January 2006 to December 2019), from the national Premier Healthcare claims dataset. The study intervention was multimodal analgesia, defined as opioid use with the addition of nonopioid analgesic modalities. These included, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, paracetamol/acetaminophen, neuraxial anesthesia, steroids, gabapentin/pregabalin, and ketamine. Analgesic management was stratified into 4 categories: opioids only and multimodal analgesia with the addition of 1, 2 or ≥3 nonopioid analgesic modalities. Mixed-effects regression models measured associations between multimodal analgesia and postoperative complications, LOS, and opioid consumption measured in milligram oral morphine equivalents. Results: Multimodal analgesia was associated with a beneficial dose response pattern. With increasing nonopioid analgesic modalities added to opioid analgesia, a stepwise decrease in complication risk was consistently observed, eg, with the addition of 1, 2, or ≥3 nonopioid modalities the odds for any complication decreased by 8% (odds ratio [OR], 0.92; confidence interval [CI], 0.90-0.94), 17% (OR, 0.83; CI, 0.81-0.86), and 22% (OR, 0.78; CI 0.69-0.79), respectively. This stepwise pattern was consistent in respiratory, cardiac, and renal complications individually. Similarly, LOS decreased stepwise with added analgesic modalities. Conclusions: These nationally representative data indicate that enhanced pain management by multiple pain pathways is associated with significant reductions in postoperative complications and shortened patient recovery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • analgesia
  • coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • multimodal
  • opioid consumption
  • outcome


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