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Paediatr Anaesth. 2012 Jul;22(7):661-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2012.03807.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Prevalence of moderate-severe pain in hospitalized children.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

  Acute pain management in children is often inadequate. The prevalence of pain in hospitalized children in the US is unknown.

METHODS:

  We reviewed clinical characteristics of all pediatric patients admitted to Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's hospital during July 2009. Patients with moderate-severe pain were identified. For patients identified as having moderate-severe pain risk factors, analgesia regimens, and pain outcomes were reviewed.

RESULTS:

  The prevalence of moderate-severe in-hospital pain was 27% (95% C.I. 23% to 32%). Teenagers and infants experienced higher prevalence rates of moderate-severe pain (38% and 32% respectively) than children (17%, P < 0.001). In addition, patients admitted to medical services had much lower rates of moderate-severe pain (13%) than those admitted to surgical services (44%, P < 0.001). Regional anesthesia was used in eleven (7.2%) of the patients on surgical services. Acetaminophen was administered to 75% of patients with moderate-severe pain. Only 21% of these patients had nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) available. Opioids were given scheduled to 36% of patients with moderate-severe pain and as needed to another 40%. Fifty-five percent of patients still had one or more episode of moderate-severe pain on the day following an initial diagnosis; however, this number decreased steadily over subsequent days. Eleven patients (13% of those diagnosed with moderate-severe pain) still had one or more episodes of daily moderate-severe pain by day four.

CONCLUSIONS:

  The prevalence of moderate-severe pain in hospitalized children remains high. Analgesia regimens may not be optimal. Underutilization of regional anesthesia techniques may have contributed to increased pain scores. A large proportion of children diagnosed with moderate-severe pain may have persistent clinically significant pain in subsequent days.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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