Interference of Postoperative Pain on Women's daily Life after Early Discharge from Cardiac Surgery
Women report more postoperative pain and problems performing domestic activities than men in the first month of recovery after cardiac surgery. The purpose of this article is to describe how women rate and describe pain interference with daily life after early discharge from cardiac surgery. A qualitative study was conducted in 2004-2005 with ten women recruited from a large Norwegian university hospital before discharge from their first elective cardiac surgery. Various aspects of the women's postoperative experiences were collected with qualitative interviews in the women's homes 8-14 days after discharge: a self-developed pain diary measuring pain intensity, types and amount of pain medication taken every day after returning home from hospital; and the Brief Pain Inventory–Short Form immediately before the interview. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify recurring themes from the interviews. Data from the questionnaires provided more nuances to the experiences of pain, pain management, and interference of postoperative pain. Postoperative pain interfered most with sleep, general activity, and the ability to perform housework during the first 2 weeks after discharge. Despite being advised at the hospital to take pain medication regularly, few women consumed the maximum amount of analgesics. Early hospital discharge after open cardiac surgery implies increased patient participation in pain management. Women undergoing this surgery need more information in hospital on why postoperative pain management beyond simple pain relief is important.
Fagermoen, May Solveig