Variation in prescribing for the prevention of postoperative nausea, vomiting, and pain following abdominal surgery: A retrospective study

Sarah M. Kelly, Miranda Quenby, Tomás B. Corcoran, Steven Webb, Paul A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background and Aims: Adequate postoperative analgesia and prevention of post-op nausea and vomiting (PONV) are core components of modern day anaesthesia and peri-operative care. As well as contributing to overall morbidity, postoperative pain and PONV are frequently cited as one of the most unpleasant and distressing aspects of surgery for patients. Variation in healthcare delivery is known to exist but has often been poorly described. A first step to understanding the consequences of variation is to describe the extent of variation. We aimed to assess variation in pharmacological strategies to prevent postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing elective major abdominal surgery at a tertiary hospital in Perth, Western Australia, over a three-month period. Methods: Retrospective cross-sectional study. Results: We observed considerable variation in prescribing of postoperative analgesia and PONV prophylaxis and suggest that despite adequate evidence based guidelines, they are often overlooked in practice. Conclusion: Measurement of the consequences of variation requires randomised clinical trials that evaluate differences in outcome and cost, associated with the strategies that exist within the spectrum of variation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1335
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Science Reports
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • anesthesia
  • critical care medicine
  • healthcare management
  • surgery

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