Objective To examine incision and breast pain and discomfort, and their predictors in women 12-months following sternotomy.
Design Extension survey following participation in a clinical trial.
Setting Ten Canadian centers.
Patients Women (n=326) who completed the Women's Recovery from Sternotomy Trial
Main outcome measures Pain and discomfort data (numeric rating scales) collected by standardized interview at 5-days, 12-weeks and 12-months following sternotomy.
Results More patients reported having incision or breast discomfort (46.6%) than pain (18.1%) at 12-months post-operatively. No symptoms at 5-days post-operatively were significantly associated with symptom presence at 12 post-operative months. However, having incision pain and discomfort as well as breast pain and discomfort at 12 post-operative weeks was associated with incision pain (Odds Ratio [OR]=3.26, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.51- 7.07), incision discomfort (OR=4.87, 95% CI 3.01-7.88), breast pain (OR=9.36, 95% CI 3.91-22.38), and breast discomfort (OR=6.42, 95% CI 3.62-11.37), respectively at 12 post-operative months. Increasing chest circumference was associated with having ongoing incision pain (OR=1.12, 95% CI 1.03-1.21) and breast pain (OR=1.10, 95% CI 1.00-1.22). Harvesting of bilateral internal mammary arteries (IMAs) was associated with having ongoing incision pain (OR=4.71, 95% CI 1.54-14.3), while harvesting only the left IMA was associated with having ongoing breast pain (OR=2.78, 95% CI 1.06-7.32) and breast discomfort (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.02-3.19).
Conclusions Patients reported incision and breast pain and discomfort as long as 12-months post-sternotomy. Improved management of post-operative pain and discomfort up to at least 12-weeks following surgery may render reduced long-term pain and discomfort symptoms.
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