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Anesthesiology. 2010 Jun;112(6):1494-502. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181dcd5a0.

Prediction of postoperative pain: a systematic review of predictive experimental pain studies.

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  • 1Multidisciplinary Pain Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospitals, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Quantitative testing of a patient's basal pain perception before surgery has the potential to be of clinical value if it can accurately predict the magnitude of pain and requirement of analgesics after surgery. This review includes 14 studies that have investigated the correlation between preoperative responses to experimental pain stimuli and clinical postoperative pain and demonstrates that the preoperative pain tests may predict 4-54% of the variance in postoperative pain experience depending on the stimulation methods and the test paradigm used. The predictive strength is much higher than previously reported for single factor analyses of demographics and psychologic factors. In addition, some of these studies indicate that an increase in preoperative pain sensitivity is associated with a high probability of development of sustained postsurgical pain.

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