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Research: Reduction of post-operative opioid use in neonates following open congenital diaphragmatic hernia repairs: A quality improvement initiative

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Research: Reduction of post-operative opioid use in neonates following open congenital diaphragmatic hernia repairs: A quality improvement initiative

J Pediatr Surg

. 2021 Sep 20;S0022-3468(21)00643-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.09.027. Online ahead of print https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34686379/

Reduction of post-operative opioid use in neonates following open congenital diaphragmatic hernia repairs: A quality improvement initiative

David F Grabski 1Rick D Vavolizza 2Zoe Roecker 3Daniel Levin 4Jonathan R Swanson 5Eugene D McGahren 4Jeffrey W Gander 4Affiliations expand

Abstract

Background: A limited number of post-operative opioid reduction strategies have been implemented in the neonatal population. Given the potential neurodevelopment effects of prolonged opioid use, we created a quality improvement initiative to reduce opioids in our NICU and evaluated the intervention in our CDH population.

Methods: Our opioid reduction intervention was based on standing post-operative IV acetaminophen, standardizing post-surgical sign-out between the surgical, anesthesia and NICU teams and a series of education seminars with NICU providers on post-operative pain control management. A historical control was used to perform a retrospective cohort analysis of opioid prescribing patterns in addition to a utilizing process control charts to investigate time trends in prescribing patterns.

Results: Forty-five children with CDH underwent an operation were included in our investigation- 18 in our pre-intervention cohort, 6 in a roll-out cohort and 21 in our post-intervention cohort. Each cohort was clinically similar. The intervention reduced total post-operative opioid use (morphine equivalents) from 82.2 (mg/kg) to 2.9 (mg/kg) in our post-intervention group (p < 0.0001). Our maximum Neonatal Pain and Agitation Sedation Score over the first 48 post-operative hours were equivalent (p = 0.827). Safety profiles were statistically equivalent. The opioid reduction intervention reduced post-operative intubation length from 156 to 44 h (p = 0.021).

Conclusion: A multi-tiered intervention can decrease opioid use in post-surgical neonates with complex surgical pathology including CDH. The intervention proposed in this investigation is safe and does not increase pain or sedation scores in neonates, while lessening post-operative intubation length.

Evidence level: Level II.

Keywords: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; Enhanced recovery; Opioid reduction intervention.

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