This is Science Today. Researchers have discovered
an important link between post-operative pain
and infection. Dr. Daniel Sessler, a professor
of anesthesia at the University of California,
San Francisco, discovered that completely controlling
pain with medication not only improves patient
comfort, but also significantly reduces the risk
Tissue oxygen is known to be the most important
factor influencing infection. The reason is that
the primary defense against the bacteria that
cause surgical infections are killed by neutrophils,
which are a type of white blood cells and they
depend on oxygen.
But pain stimulates the body's protective fight
or flight response. This chemical reaction limits
the flow of oxygen-rich blood to tissues such
as the skin; so more oxygen can go to the brain
and other organs necessary in emergencies.
However, in post-operative surgical patients,
those same responses are not helpful and it's
best to use effective pain treatment to block
the fight or flight response.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.