Postdischarge Nausea and Vomiting and Co-occurring Symptoms in Women Following Breast Cancer Surgery

Published:January 10, 2023DOI:



      The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of potential co-occurring symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and pain, on the incidence of postdischarge nausea (PDN) measured two days following discharge to home after surgery for breast cancer.


      This study used a prospective, cross-sectional, observational design.


      The sample was 334 women aged 27 to 88 years of age. Demographic data were collected from the patient and the medical record before surgery. Symptom data were collected 48 hours following surgery using the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System (PROMIS) and numerical nausea and pain scales.


      Eighty-five (25.4%) of study participants reported some nausea two days after discharge. Study participants who experienced PDN frequently described that it occurred after they left the hospital to drive home following their surgery. Unadjusted odds ratios showed the presence of co-occurring symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain were all significantly associated with the presence of nausea 48 hours following surgery. Other significant factors associated with (PDN) were history of motion sickness, history of pregnancy-induced nausea, use of opioids, and type of surgery.


      Same-day surgery nurses providing postoperative education for women following surgery for breast cancer should explain to patients that nausea may occur after they are discharged, especially those with known motion sickness. In addition, patients should be informed that other symptoms, especially fatigue, sleep disturbance, and anxiety, may co-occur.


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