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J Cardiovasc Thorac Res. 2015;7(4):141-8. doi: 10.15171/jcvtr.2015.31. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Ibuprofen - a Safe Analgesic During Cardiac Surgery Recovery? A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Aalborg University Hospital, Hobrovej 18-22 9000 Aalborg, Denmark.



Postoperative pain-management with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs has been controversial, due to related side-effects. We investigated whether there was a significant difference between an oxycodone-based pain-management regimen versus a slow-release ibuprofen based regimen, in a short term post-cardiac surgery setting. Particular attention was given to the rate of myocardial infarction, sternal healing, gastro-intestinal complications, renal failure and all-cause mortality.


This was a single-centre, open label parallel design randomised controlled study. Patients, who were undergoing cardiac surgery for the first time, were randomly allocated either to a regimen of slow-release oxycodone (10 mg twice daily) or slow-release ibuprofen (800 mg twice daily) combined with lansoprazole. Data relating to blood-tests, angiographies, surgical details and administered medicine were obtained from patient records. The follow-up period was 1 to 37 months (median 25 months).


One hundred eighty-two patients were included in the trial and available for intention to treat analysis. There were no significant difference between the groups (P>0.05) in the rates of sternal healing, postoperative myocardial infarction or gastrointestinal bleeding. The preoperative levels of creatinine were found to increase by 100% in nine patients (9.6%) in the ibuprofen group, resulting in an acute renal injury (in accordance with the RIFLE-criteria). Eight of these patients returned to normal renal function within 14 days. The levels of creatinine in patients in the oxycodone group were not found to increase to the same magnitude.


The results of this study suggest that patients treated postoperatively, following cardiac surgery, are at no greater risk of harm if short term slow release ibuprofen combined with lansoprazole treatment is used when compared to an oxycodone based regimen. Renal function should, however, be closely monitored and in the event of any decrease in renal function ibuprofen must be discontinued.


Acute Renal Injury; Analgesia; Cardiac Surgery; Non-steroidal Anti-inflamatory Drugs

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