Migraine treatment and the risk of postoperative, pain-related hospital readmissions in migraine patients

Background: Migraine treatment may mitigate migraine and associated pain in the perioperative period.

Objective: The aim of the study was to estimate the effect of perioperative acute and prophylactic migraine treatment on the risk of postoperative 30-day hospital readmission with an admitting diagnosis specifying any pain complaints among migraine patients.

Design: Electronic health records were analysed for 21,932 adult migraine patients undergoing surgery between 2005 and 2017 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Methods: Perioperative abortive migraine treatment was defined as guideline-recommended medication (triptan, ergotamine, acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) prescription after surgery, within 30 days after discharge and prior readmission. Perioperatively continued prophylactic migraine treatment was defined as prescription both prior to surgery and perioperatively for recommended medications (beta-blockers, antidepressants, antiepileptics, onabotulinumtoxin A).

Results: Overall, 10,921 (49.8%) patients received a prescription for abortive migraine drugs. Of these, 1.2% and 1.5% of patients with and without such prescription were readmitted for pain, respectively. Patients with abortive treatment had lower odds of pain-related readmission (adjusted odds ratio 0.63 [95% confidence interval 0.49–0.81]). Prophylactic migraine treatment showed no effect on pain-related readmission independently of acute treatment (adjusted odds ratio 0.97 [95% confidence interval 0.72–1.32]).

Conclusions: Migraine patients undergoing surgery with a perioperative prescription for abortive migraine drugs were at decreased risk of pain-related hospital readmission.


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