STS Summer Series: Addressing the Cardiac Surgery Opioid Crisis

Prescriptions are a known contributor to the ongoing national opioid crisis. This STS Summer Series webinar addressed how cardiac surgery has been an under-recognized contributor to the opioid epidemic, as well as provided useful strategies for minimizing the role of opioids in the perioperative management of patients under cardiac surgical care. The webinar began with two short presentations and then transitioned into an interactive discussion led by Rakesh C. Arora, MD, PhD, and Michael C. Grant, MD, MSE. 


  • Why Is This Even an Issue? – Daniel T. Engelman, MD 
  • Now What Do I Do? – Michael C. Grant, MD, MSE

Following the presentations, the panel of experts:

  • Explained the historical basis for opioid-based anesthesia and analgesia in cardiac surgery
  • Addressed how patients often overly utilize opioid prescriptions months after their index procedure 
  • Shared strategies to reduce the perioperative use of opioids and increase alternative pain treatment options
  • Answered questions from the audience

This episode is also available as a podcast.

This series is support by Medtronic.

Rakesh C. Arora, MD, PhD 
St. Boniface Hospital
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Michael C. Grant, MD, MSE
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Baltimore, MD 

Daniel T. Engelman, MD 
Baystate Health 
Springfield, MA
Michael S. Firstenberg, MD
The Medical Center of Aurora
Aurora, CO 

Rita Karianna Milewski, MD, PhD, MSEd
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Nathalie Roy, MD 
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, MA