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Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim. 2006 Aug-Sep;53(7):408-18.

[Postoperative pain management in a tertiary care hospital: initial situation prior to starting a quality assurance program].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Medicina Preventiva, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid.



To characterize the initial situation in postoperative pain management among the services General and Vascular surgery as the first step in developing a program to improve postoperative analgesia.


An anonymous questionnaire with 14 items covered the characteristics of postoperative pain, information received about analgesic treatments and requesting medication, and degree of satisfaction. The questionnaire was filled in during an early postoperative interview with all patients undergoing surgery in the aforementioned departments.


A total of 158 patients were interviewed; 89% were from the general surgery department and 11% from vascular surgery. At 24 hours after surgery, 18% were free of pain, 35% had mild pain, and 47% had moderate or intense pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were the most frequently used postoperative analgesics, in 94% of patients, and the dosage and timing had been prescribed for 74%. Thirty-six percent of the patients asked for an analgesic to be administered. The correlation between degree of greatest pain and request for an analgesic was statistically significant (P < 0.001).


Postoperative pain is an area in which improvements can be implemented to provide better care and treatment of surgical patients, particularly since there are efficacious analgesic treatments for pain control that are presently not being used. The custom of prescribing pain medication on demand should be avoided in all surgical procedures that are known to produce postoperative pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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