BACKGROUND The chronic use of opioids and glucocorticoids is associated with serious side effects. Moreover, both medications are related to poor long-term postoperative outcomes.
OBJECTIVE The study aimed to investigate the association between pre-operative chronic opioid and glucocorticoid use and 90-day mortality after noncardiac surgery.
DESIGN Retrospective, population-based cohort study.
SETTING Single tertiary academic hospital.
PATIENTS The study enrolled adult (≥18 years of age) patients admitted to Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, between January 2012 and December 2018 for planned, elective, noncardiac surgery.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The study compared the 90-day mortality for patients using opioids or glucocorticoids chronically (≥3 months) prior to surgery and for opioid-naı ¨ve and glucocorticoid-naı ¨ve patients.
RESULTS A total of 112 606 patients were included in the study. Among them, 107 843 (95.9%) were opioid-naı ¨ve and glucocorticoid-naı ¨ve patients; 3373 (3.0%), 1199 (1.1%) and 191 patients (0.2%) were chronic users of opioids,glucocorticoids or both, respectively. In the multivariable model, compared with opioid-naı ¨ve and glucocorticoid-naı ¨ve patients, the odds of dying within 90 days were significantly higher for chronic users of opioids [3.56-fold; 95% confidence intervals (CIs) 2.36 to 5.38; P<0.001], glucocorticoids (4.17-fold; 95% CI 3.28 to 5.29; P<0.001) and combined opioids and glucocorticoids (7.66-fold; 95% CI 3.91 to 15.01; P<0.001).
CONCLUSION Chronic pre-operative use of opioids and glucocorticoids, together or individually, were associated with increased 90-day mortalities after noncardiac surgery, compared with opioid-naı ¨ve and glucocorticoid-naı ¨ve patients. Our results suggest that chronic pre-operative use of opioids and glucocorticoids should be managed carefully.