What are PONV and PDNV? Why do they occur?

Nausea is the unpleasant feeling that you get when you're about to vomit. Vomiting is the act of forcefully expelling the stomach's contents out through the mouth.

Postoperative nausea and vomiting, also called PONV, is nausea and vomiting that occurs after surgery. When PONV happens after a person goes home from hospital, it is called post-discharge nausea and vomiting (PDNV).

Depending on individual factors and the type of surgery, PONV can happen in about 30% of people after surgery. It may last up to 5 days. In about 1% of people who have surgery, PONV is so severe that the person must be readmitted to the hospital.

PDNV can occur after the person leaves the hospital. At home, people are no longer under close medical supervision, so symptoms of nausea and vomiting can go untreated or under-treated. This may lead to discomfort and inability to do normal activities, and may delay recovery.

PONV and PDNV are caused by a variety of factors such as gender, age, prior history, and type of surgery. The surgery itself can activate processes in the body that lead to nausea and vomiting. Certain medications used during and after surgery can also cause nausea and vomiting. These include anaesthetics (used to relieve pain and relax you into surgery) and narcotics (relieve more intense and persistent pain).

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