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Palliat Med. 2001 May;15(3):243-6.

Prevalence and characteristics of breakthrough pain in patients with non-malignant terminal disease admitted to a hospice.

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1
St Joseph's Hospice, Mare Street, London E8 45A, UK. izeppetella@stjosephshospice.org.uk

Abstract

A prospective survey was undertaken to determine the prevalence and characteristics of breakthrough pain in patients with non-malignant terminal disease admitted to a hospice. Of the 78 admissions surveyed, 10 patients were confused or too unwell to take part and 25 were pain-free. The remaining 43 reported 86 pains (range 1-6 per patient); of these patients, 27 (63%) had breakthrough pain and identified 52 pains (range 1-5 per patient). Breakthrough pain was classified as somatic (46%) visceral (14%), neuropathic (25%) or mixed aetiology (15%); 60% of pains were severe or excruciating. The mean number of daily breakthrough pain episodes was five (range 1-13), 54% of which occurred suddenly. Most pains (56%) were unpredictable; 75% lasted less than 30 min. These findings suggest that breakthrough pain is common in patients with non-malignant terminal disease; it is frequent, short lasting and often unpredictable, thus making treatment difficult.

PMID:
11407195
DOI:
10.1191/026921601678576220
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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