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Nurs Res. 1994 Jan-Feb;43(1):31-6.

Pain: its mediators and associated morbidity in critically ill cardiovascular surgical patients.

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  • 1Department of Physiological Nursing, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco.


This study was conducted to determine the effects of age, sex, personality adjustment, and analgesic administration on the magnitude of pain experienced by 74 cardiac and abdominal vascular surgical patients during their first few postoperative days. The relationship of pain magnitude to postoperative complications was also examined. Pain intensity was moderate and did not diminish over the first few postoperative days. Physical sensations and emotional tension associated with pain caused little distress. The primary consistent mediator of pain magnitude after surgery was the amount of analgesics administered to patients, although they received small amounts. Neither age nor personality adjustment influenced the magnitude of any pain dimension. However, women and patients having abdominal vascular surgery reported more disturbing physical sensations associated with their pain. Patients with greater pain intensity had a significantly greater incidence of atelectasis as a postoperative complication.

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