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Int J Burns Trauma. 2015 Aug 1;5(2):56-65. eCollection 2015.

The contribution of opiate analgesics to the development of infectious complications in trauma patients.

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Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, TX.
Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, TX ; US Army Institute of Surgical Research Fort Sam Houston, TX.


Trauma-related pain is a natural consequence of injury and its surgical management; however, the relationship between opiates and complications in trauma patients is unknown. To study this a retrospective chart review of selected subjects following traumatic injury with admission to the SICU for > 3 days was performed, and opiate administration data was collected for the first 3 days of admission. Associated data from each subject's chart was also collected. Analysis of the data revealed that increased opiate intake after admission to the SICU was associated with significantly increased SICU and hospital LOS independent of injury severity. This increase in LOS was independent of mechanical ventilation in the moderate ISS group. Infectious complications were also more prevalent in the moderate ISS group with higher opiate use. These findings suggest that increased doses of opiate analgesics in trauma patients may contribute to an increased overall LOS and associated infectious complications. Analgesic regimes that minimize opiate intake, while still providing adequate pain relief, may be advantageous in reducing LOS, complications and reduce hospitalization costs.


ICU; LOS; Pain; analgesia; infection; mechanical ventilation


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