Chronic pain is a common complication after thoracic surgery. The cause of chronic post-thoracotomy pain is often suggested to be intercostal nerve damage. Thus chronic pain after thoracic surgery should have an important neuropathic component. The present study investigated the prevalence of the neuropathic component in chronic pain after thoracic surgery. Furthermore, we looked for predictive factors for prevalence and intensity of chronic pain. We contacted 243 patients who underwent a video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) or thoracotomy in the period between January 2004 and September 2006 by mail. Patients retrospectively received a questionnaire with the Dutch version of the PainDETECT Questionnaire, a validated screening tool for neuropathic pain. Results were analyzed from 204 patients (144 thoracotomies, 60 VATS). The prevalence of chronic pain was 40% after thoracotomy and 47% after VATS. Definite chronic neuropathic pain was present in 23% of the patients with chronic pain, with an additional 30% having probable neuropathic pain. Greater probability of neuropathic pain (ie, a higher total score of the PainDETECT) correlated with more intense chronic pain. Predictive factors for chronic pain were younger age (P = .01), radiotherapy (P = .043), pleurectomy (P = .04) and more extensive surgery (P < .001). PERSPECTIVE: Up to half the chronic pain after thoracic surgery is not associated with a neuropathic component, which has not been reported to date. More extensive surgery and pleurectomy are predictive factors for chronic pain after thoracic surgery, suggesting a visceral component apart from nerve injury.
"Thoracic surgeries including thoracotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) are some of the highest risk procedures that often lead to chronic post-surgery pain (CPSP) –. Previous studies have shown that the prevalence of CPSP following thoracic surgery varies from 14% to 83% , , –, while the prevalence of CPSP following thoracic surgery with neuropathic component varies from 22% to 66% , , , , . Failure in proper management of CPSP following thoracic surgery is associated with higher morbidity and mortality, worse physical function and pain interference, and overall poor quality of life , . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thoracic surgeries including thoracotomy and VATS are some of the highest risk procedures that often lead to CPSP, with or without a neuropathic component. This retrospective study aims to determine retrospectively the prevalence of CPSP following thoracic surgery, its predicting risk factors, the incidence of neuropathic component, and its impact on quality of life.
Patients who underwent thoracic surgeries including thoracotomy and VATS between 01/2010 and 12/2011 at the First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University were first contacted and screened for CPSP following thoracic surgery via phone interview. Patients who developed CPSP were then mailed with a battery of questionnaires, including a questionnaire referenced to Maguire's research, a validated Chinese version of the ID pain questionnaire, and a SF-36 Health Survey. Logistic regression analyses were subsequently performed to identify risk factors for CPSP following thoracic surgery and its neuropathic component.
The point prevalence of CPSP following thoracic surgery was 24.9% (320/1284 patients), and the point prevalence of neuropathic component of CPSP was 32.5% (86/265 patients). CPSP following thoracic surgery did not improve significantly with time. Multiple predictive factors were identified for CPSP following thoracic surgery, including age<60 years old, female gender, prolonged duration of post-operative chest tube drainage (≥4 days), options of post-operative pain management, and pre-existing hypertension. Furthermore, patients who experienced CPSP following thoracic surgery were found to have significantly decreased physical function and worse quality of life, especially those with neuropathic component.
Our study demonstrated that nearly 1 out of 4 patients underwent thoracic surgery might develop CPSP, and one third of them accompanied with a neuropathic component. Early prevention as well as aggressive treatment is important for patients with CPSP following thoracic surgery to achieve a high quality of life.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e90014. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0090014 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Another problem in translating from a symptom or sign to the underlying mechanism relates to the methods used to classify patients. Questionnaires and other examination programs for neuropathic pain all suffer from the same problem: There is no specific diagnostic tool that allows one to determine the exact sensitivity and specificity of these measures  . Current screening and examination measures also have an inherent problem. "
"We proposed that postherpetic neuralgia might be a pain syndrome including both peripheral and central mechanisms. Steegers et al.  reported that up to half of the chronic pain after thoracic surgery was not associated with a neuropathic component. Predictive factors for chronic pain were radiotherapy, pleurectomy, and more extensive surgery (bilobectomy and pneumonectomy). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic pain is a common complication after thoracic surgery. The most important factor appears to be intercostal nerve damage. The purpose of this prospective study was to objectively evaluate intercostal nerve damage associated with post-thoracotomy pain after three surgical procedures using current perception threshold testing.
The 32 patients were classified into three groups: the video-assisted thoracic surgery group (n=7), the video-assisted minithoracotomy with metal retractors group (n=15), and the conventional thoracotomy group (n=10). Intercostal nerve function was assessed by a series of 2000-Hz (Aβ fiber), 250-Hz (Aδ fiber), and 5-Hz (C fiber) stimuli using current perception threshold testing (Neurometer CPT/C). The current perception threshold values were measured before and 1, 2, 4, 12, and 24 weeks after surgery. The intensities of ongoing pain were also assessed using a numeric rating scale (0-10).
The video-assisted thoracic surgery group showed no changes in any current perception threshold values and no residual pain more than 12 weeks after surgery. The video-assisted minithoracotomy with metal retractors group and the conventional thoracotomy group showed significantly higher current perception threshold values at 2000 Hz 1 week after surgery (p=0.0013, p=0.0012, respectively), with pain in approximately 70% of patients 12 weeks after surgery. The correlation between current perception threshold values at 2000 Hz and the intensities of ongoing pain 4 and 12 weeks after surgery was significant (p=0.03, p=0.04, respectively).
This is the first study that objectively evaluated pain after video-assisted thoracic surgery. The results suggest that the Aβ and Aδ fibers play a significant role in the development of intercostal nerve damage. The current perception threshold values clearly demonstrated that video-assisted thoracic surgery is a less-invasive procedure resulting in less post-thoracotomy pain and, they have some possibilities to objectively evaluate the ongoing pain after surgery.
European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery: official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery 11/2010; 39(6):1033-9. DOI:10.1016/j.ejcts.2010.10.015 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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