Pain Pump Helps After Heart Surgery

Delivers numbing medication directly to site of incision

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FRIDAY, June 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A new pump system designed to relieve pain after heart surgery is being used at the Northwestern Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The pain pump delivers non-narcotic numbing medication directly to the incision site. Cardiac patients experience less pain and require fewer doses of painkiller narcotics, have shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery, according to the institute.

"Post-operative pain is one of the primary concerns patients have when undergoing heart surgery," Dr. Patrick McCarthy, institute co-director, said in a prepared statement.

"The pain relief pump not only significantly reduces pain post-operatively, but it also reduces anxiety and fear before the operation," McCarthy said.

The pain pump system includes a small balloon pump filled with local anesthetic, which is continuously delivered through a tiny tube directly to the surgical incision site. The device can be used up to five days after surgery. It's portable and can be carried in a pouch or attached to a patient's clothing.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about pain control after surgery.

SOURCE: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, news release, June 7, 2004

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