Postoperative pain and severe side effects of opioid analgesics present a clinical challenge after cardio-thoracic surgery. In this study, the impact of Kinesio® taping on postoperative morbidity after median sternotomy was observed.
Thirty-nine patients (mean age 66 ± 9 years, CI: 63.28; 68.98) who underwent median sternotomy between 09/2014 and 11/2014 participated in this prospective randomized controlled trial. Patients were assigned into a treatment on a non-treatment group. Patients in the treatment group were taped after leaving the intensive care unit. We assessed, pain, consumption of pain medication, the subjective estimation of patients’ ability to breathe, radiologic and microbial abnormalities as well as adverse effects resulting from the tape use daily until discharge. To determine the patients’ satisfaction a discharge questionnaire was offered after completion of data.
Patients who were treated with tape report significantly less pain (2.14 ± 0.5, CI: 1.1; 3.13) than patients from the control group (4.16 ± 0.6, CI: 2.92; 5.41, p = 0.01). The need for opioid pain medication, as assessed by total analgesic consumption per patient, was significantly less in the treatment group (1.2 ml ± 0.4 ml, CI: 0.40 ml; 2.01 ml) versus (3.1 ml ± 0.5 ml, CI: 2.0 ml; 4.2 ml, p = 0.01). The subjective estimation of patients’ ability to breathe was significantly better (p < 0.001) and the satisfaction was higher in the Kinesio® tape group compared to the control group. Taped patients had a mean hospitalization of 10 ± 1 day (CI: 8.74 days; 11.78 days) untapped patients stayed for 11 ± 1 days (CI: 9.17 days; 11.83 days). Adverse effects from the tape treatment were not observed.
Kinesio® taping after median sternotomy is a low-risk, non-pharmacologic, cost effective, and promising method for improving patients’ breathing conditions, reducing postoperative pain, pain medication consumption, and thus, potential adverse effects of analgesics.