November 16, 2023

Researchers look for genetic drivers of postop pain

Editor's Note

A new study that attempted to find genetic drivers of postoperative pain uncovered only two associated alleles, suggesting wider examination is needed. The findings were published in the American Society of Anesthesiologists journal Anesthesiology December 2023 issue.

The researchers looked at 163 studies and evaluated 129 genes and 594 genetic variants. They performed meta-analysis on seven variants. Ultimately, only two variants were associated with small differences in postoperative pain. 

Other highlights noted include: 

  • There are more than 100 million surgical procedures performed in the US each year, and up to 80% of patients experience pain following their procedures. 
  • Those patients who experience ongoing pain are more likely to turn to opioid use. 
  • America’s chronic pain epidemic costs more to manage than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined.

The authors note that there is a need to examine larger cohorts in order to better understand the connection between genetics and postoperative pain.

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