Long-term Outcomes Following a Comprehensive Quality Assurance and Process Improvement Endeavor to Minimize Opioid Use after Kidney Transplant

Taylor Carcella*, Neha Patel, Jarrod Marable, Shipra Bethi, James Fleming, Prabhakar Baliga, Derek Dubay, David Taber, Vinayak Rohan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: Opioid use following kidney transplant is associated with an increased risk of graft loss and mortality. Opioid minimization strategies and protocols have shown reductions in short-term opioid use after kidney transplant. Objective: To evaluate the long-term outcomes associated with an opioid minimization protocol following kidney transplant. Design, Setting, and Participants: This single-center quality improvement study evaluated postoperative and long-term opioid use before and after the implementation of a multidisciplinary, multimodal pain regimen and education process in adult kidney graft recipients from August 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020. Patient data were collected from a retrospective chart review. Exposures: Preprotocol and postprotocol implementation use of opioids. Main Outcomes and Measures: Between November 7 and 23, 2022, opioid use before and after protocol implementation was evaluated up to 1 year after transplant using multivariable linear and logistic regression. Results: A total of 743 patients were included, with 245 patients in the preprotocol group (39.2% female and 60.8% male; mean [SD] age, 52.8 [13.1 years]) vs 498 in the postprotocol group (45.4% female and 54.6% male; mean [SD] age, 52.4 [12.9 years]). The total morphine milligram equivalents (MME) in the 1-year follow-up in the preprotocol group was 1203.7 vs 581.9 in the postprotocol group. In the postprotocol group, 313 patients (62.9%) had 0 MME in the 1-year follow-up vs 7 (2.9%) in the preprotocol group (odds ratio [OR], 57.52; 95% CI, 26.55-124.65). Patients in the postprotocol group had 99% lower odds of filling more than 100 MME in the 1-year follow-up (adjusted OR, 0.01; 95% CI, 0.01-0.02; P <.001). Opioid-naive patients postprotocol were one-half as likely to become long-term opioid users vs preprotocol (OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.20-0.98; P =.04). Conclusions and Relevance: The study's findings show a significant reduction in opioid use in kidney graft recipients associated with the implementation of a multimodal opioid-sparing pain protocol..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-624
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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