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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2002 Mar;23(3):221-30.

Prevalence of pain in Italian hospitals: results of a regional cross-sectional survey.

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  • 1Unit of Clinical Epidemiology and Trials, Biomedical Technology Assessment (Beta), Genoa, Italy.


The aims of this study were to quantify the prevalence of pain among hospitalized Italian patients and to describe the potential determinants of pain in this population. All patients older than 18 years and hospitalized for at least 24 hours in one of the 30 public hospitals of the Liguria region (n = 4709) were eligible for pain assessment. Using the Brief Pain Inventory, patients with pain during the last 24 hours were asked to score the intensity of pain at the time of the interview, and the worst pain and average pain during the previous 24 hours on 0-10 rating scales. Overall, 87% (4121 / 4709) of inpatients were interviewed, and 56.6% suffered pain during the last 24 hours. Among patients with pain, the median (interquartile range) score of the worst and of the average pain during the last 24 hours was 7 (5-9) and 5 (3-6), respectively. At the time of interview, 43.1% evaluated patients suffered pain, with a median (interquartile range) of 5 (3-7). Although significant heterogeneity in the distribution of pain was observed among the hospitals, pain prevalence was unacceptably high in most cases. Age, sex, education, diagnosis, and days from surgery were significantly related to pain prevalence in univariate analyses. In a multivariable ordinal regression logistic analysis, only sex, diagnosis, days from surgery, and hospitals remain significantly associated with increased pain prevalence.

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