Non-opioid analgesic modes of pain management are associated with reduced postoperative complications and resource utilisation: a retrospective study of obstructive sleep apnoea patients undergoing elective joint arthroplasty.

This population-based retrospective cohort study aimed to assess the impact of multimodal analgesia on opioid use and complications among OSA patients undergoing elective lower extremity joint arthroplasty. Multimodal analgesia was defined as opioid use with the addition of one, two, or more non-opioid analgesic modes including, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, paracetamol/acetaminophen, peripheral nerve blocks, steroids, gabapentin/pregabalin, or ketamine. Multilevel multivariable regression models measured associations between multimodal analgesia and opioid prescription, opioid- and OSA-related complications, and resource utilization.

Among 181 182 OSA patients results showed stepwise beneficial postoperative outcome effects with increasing additional analgesic modes compared with opioid-only analgesia. In patients who received more than two additional analgesia modes (n = 64 174), opioid dose prescription decreased by 14.9% (CI -17.0%; -12.7%), while odds were significantly decreased for gastrointestinal complications (OR 0.65, CI 0.53; 0.78), mechanical ventilation (OR 0.23, CI 0.16; 0.32), and critical care admission (OR 0.60, CI 0.48; 0.75), all P<0.0001. In a population at high risk for perioperative complications from OSA, multimodal analgesia was associated with a stepwise reduction in opioid use and complications, including critical respiratory failure.