Need for improved treatment of postoperative pain

Ole Mathiesen, Berit Ahlmann Thomsen, Birgitte Kitter, Jørgen Berg Dahl, Henrik Kehlet

    Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review


    INTRODUCTION: A cross-sectional study was performed at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, a Danish tertiary university hospital, to describe current postoperative pain and nausea treatment with a view to identifying areas with improvement potential. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Data on up to four of the major and most frequent types of surgery were collected from each department based on interviews with the staff, audits of patient courses and electronic patient medication records. Staff guidelines on procedure-specific pain treatment were also collected. RESULTS: Data on 121 patients from 12 surgical departments and 44 procedures were included in the study. No reliable information about the quality of pain management was available as no data on pain scores were detectable for the first three postoperative days (POD) for 55% (day 1), 71% (day 2) and 84% (day 3) of the patients. Most patients (75%) were treated with opioids. Non-opioid analgesic treatment was insufficient as the majority of patients did not receive sufficient 24-hour treatment with paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and only a minority received combination therapy. Nausea was found in approx. 20% on POD 1-3. Staff pain treatment guidelines were present in 14% of the cases. CONCLUSION: Our results confirm that challenges exist in postoperative pain management as previously observed in multinational surveys. The way forward is procedure-specific treatment plans based on interdisciplinary collaboration implemented in conjunction with organizational changes. This work represents a natural extension of the work of the traditional acute pain clinic.

    TidsskriftDanish medical journal
    Udgave nummer4
    StatusUdgivet - 1 dec. 2012

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