Study Suggests Post-operative Nausea and Vomiting is Hereditary




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Are some patients pre-disposed to post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV)? A study published in the July issue of Anesthesiology suggests that could be the case.

The Study

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine gathered DNA samples from 122 patients with severe PONV who had at least three separate incidents following surgery. Patients answered questions about a family history of the condition, motion sickness, migraine headaches, or any additional adverse side effects associated with anesthesia.

The purpose of the research was determining if patients inherit post-operative nausea and vomiting. While previous findings established family history as a risk factor, this study was one of the first that analyzed the possible connection between genetic factors and PONV.

The findings revealed 41 genetic targets, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), which may contribute to a patient's predisposition to PONV. Additionally, researchers discovered at least one SNP common to the patients with severe PONV.

The authors of the study concluded that the findings support the use of a pooling-based approach and provide evidence of potential association with susceptibility to PONV.

PONV is the most common complication of anesthesia and one of the biggest contributors to patient dissatisfaction after surgery. Researchers hope the results of the study will lead to the development of preoperative tests for patients with PONV risks and possible drug therapy.

Dr. Robert Goldstein, Somnia’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, has found that patients will often prefer pain to the feeling of being nauseous after surgery. In addition, PONV is also very expensive to treat and a significant contributor to the cost of care. Finding genetic markers and new pharmacologic options is an important step forward.

Somnia Anesthesia

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